Water and Sanitation
Water sources in Pakistan include; the vast oceans in the south the inland rivers, also available is the ground water and rainwater thanks to the abundant monsoons. If proper and efficient water supply and management mechanisms are adopted these resources are sufficient to cater for the needs of urban as well as the rural dwellers. Monitoring for effective water infrastructure include standards of water supply and storage facilities, implementation of standards for water quality, water treatment and purification methodology, ecological sanitation observing water waste and excreta management, maintenance of pipelines to eliminate water losses and to prevent contamination, illegal connections, strategies and preparedness for crisis, equitable supply and distribution standards between urban and rural populations in terms of the water quality, quantity and services etc. CRCP with its nationwide presence and vast experience in effective research and policy reform is actively involved in studying the state of water management and its distribution, compares it against model for sustainable growth and uses the data gathered from rural and urban centers as a lens to contemplate probable options in policy shift and put forth recommendations for effective and efficient resource planning leading to sustainable development.
Rural areas contain the largest number of people without access to safe water but as in common with many developing countries showing significant demographical bursts the fastest growing unserved populations live in urban and peri-urban areas. Studies show in water delivery the water problems faced by almost all of the urban and rural centers throughout the span of the country are tied to weak implementation of quality standards and to the flaws in water distribution and management network. This presses for a need for the formulation of safe drinking water quality standards, water supply policies and effective strategies for equitable supply and division. As a direct consequence of insufficient supply and unfair rationing a major chunk of residents are also forced to pump out ground water to fulfill their water requirements that in turn comes with its own set of problems and also created a huge drop in the ground water levels.
It is important to note that most of the studies of water supply and distribution systems are technical in context and remain oblivious to the effect of the disparities between different socio-economic strata in the society that divide between rural and urban populations as well as slums settlements within the urban centers in terms of the services, these inequitable distribution also directly contribute to social conflicts and tension. CRCP water portfolio holds the unique advantage of integrating all these components and hope that all these findings will serve as a blue print for building a “Model District”.
The WHO guidelines suggest that the indicator organism for bacterial contamination (e Coli) should not be detectable in a 100-ml sample of water, but with fewer than 10 coli forms the water is considered to be of ‘moderately’ good quality. Access to water for domestic purposes in the urban areas is limited to about 84%. About 58.5% of the people have piped supply to their homes and about 7.6% get their supplies from stand posts. The remaining population obtains their water supplies from underground water or through private water vendors. While municipal authorities claim to conduct regular tests of water supply, the results of these tests are generally not made public. Physical inspection shows a plight of water distribution network that is impregnated with pipe breaks and deposits in the pipelines. Laboratory test shows ground water in most areas exceeded permissible limits in terms of fluoride, ammonia and hardness.
In addition to the direct health hazards on the end users these complaints also have financial, public relations and regulatory implications on the water network system. The water supply and usage remain to be a multi layered issue that calls for change in attitudes and practices both at grass roots level and national policy level. If water suppliers have ample and accurate data on the state of water supply networks followed by its regular monitoring then prompt pro-active response may be taken to remedy the problem and the costly implications of remedial may be avoided. Moreover, to make matters worse indicators point to obvious lack of understanding about simple water purification methods used for making water usable for drinking among the local community. Therefore, in order to avoid immediate health issues, caused by waste water disposal and impurities introduce by pipe deposits and breaks, it is equally important that the end users should be empowered.
CRCP’S project at pari-urban slum area of Islamabad District, namely Kot Hathial and Nai Abadi of the adjoining Barakahu area and 6 out of 12 urban slums within the capital city dealt with several water-related problems, namely; water scarcity, water pollution due to wastewater disposal and solid waste, water-borne diseases, insufficient drinking water, inadequate drinking water supply system, etc. The major part of the project was designed around awareness campaigns that involved all the stakeholders and successfully used community mobilization to achieve its objectives. These activities were designed with special focus on women, lady health workers, teachers and school children.
In September 2001, the Government approved a 10 year Perspective Development Plan 2001- 2011. The Ten Year Perspective Plan envisaged reduction in incidence of food poverty, that also planned to improve the Human Development Index Rank and increase in the GDP growth rate It was expected that ensure an obvious undertaking of public sector development programme and sectoral strategies for the water sector.
CRCP is involved with the administrative and governance issues related to water distribution networks, it also probes the dynamics behind the civic water supply system for the required access to the poor localities this unrealistic and limited access forces the effected residents to depend on unhygienic alternatives such as untreated ground water or stream water, which at times is also the dumping point of municipal or industrial waste. Confidentiality of rationing patterns by civic agencies, and the concern that they discriminate against the disadvantaged and the poor localities and consumers is a grave situation that needs to be addressed realistically.
Under campaign for safe drinking water, CRCP has devised a comprehensive and coherent strategy to ensure the supply of safe drinking water to all the sections of society, particularly the poor and marginalized. This also states, for a good distribution system, a guidance for the purposes of risk assessment and mitigation, data management and handling to demonstrate the operational security of specific supply systems is required. The campaign comprehensively addresses important and critical issues related to availability, accessibility, quality, consumption patterns and pricing. In this regard, CRCP is engaged with Capital Development Authority (CDA) Islamabad, Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) Rawalpindi, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Islamabad, Ministry of Science