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”.

Work Experience

Clean Water Distribution Netwroks

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.

Disposal of Industrial & Municipal Waste Water

The quality of water is increasingly deteriorating in the country owing to pollution due to several factors. All campaigns that target the water quality and standards of a community water usage it is important to understand the processes which control the fate and behavior of harmful substances like industrial waste, pesticides and excreta making their way into the pipeline, reservoirs and aquifers . The quantitative and qualitative concerns of water call for an action plan for efficient development, utilization and monitoring of the water resources of the countryTo make matters worse, various governments in Pakistan have allowed water pollution owing to industrial and municipal effluents out of bounds. Further, there has been little political will to implement whatsoever legal infrastructure was or is available to stop this unabated water pollution in the country.

The most alarming situation which needs immediate attention is mixing of untreated municipal and industrial waste water with drinking water supplies, which results in deteriorated water quality. As a result epidemics of water-borne disease are often reported in different areas. People living in rural areas and urban slums are particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases when water is either unclean or in short supply. When leaks and illegal connections lowers water pressure in the distribution system as a self remedial measure people use motor to suck water for usage these gadgets also tend to suck in water and excreta from adjoining pipelines. In urban communities there are considerably large numbers of such motor placed throughout the localities.

CRCP believes that in order to reap realistic benefits and for the development of a robust, cost-effective treatment system it is imperative to take into account natural attenuation processes and the community practices. Such close networking helps to successfully predict and introduce efficacy and cost effective measures into the provisions of water quality management like risk assessment to ensure that appropriate equipment and procedures are in place to protect drinking water quality, documentation to support good operational practices demonstrates that these practices are effective.CRCP is also actively involved in awareness and capacity building campaigns specially designed on the results of KAP surveys and comparative testing of water samples from these localities.

Engaging Parliamentarians in Environment Protection

There exists very little understanding among the parliamentarians about the role that community based initiatives play on environmental issues and their implications for the overall development processes, poverty alleviation and livelihood of the people. Political discourses in the country hardly includes any substantive emphasis on environmental challenges; and parliamentarians have been unable to contribute in terms of mainstreaming into the public policies the successful experiences of civil society organizations (CSOs), as gained through the implementation of a large number of small-scale environmental projects.

This project aims at engaging parliamentarians, especially the members of relevant standing committees of the National Assembly and the Senate on implementation of environmental policies, particularly the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS). For this purpose, the work already done by GEF (Global Environment Facility) partners would be reviewed to identify the policy gaps and areas, where the oversight role of parliamentarians needs to be strengthened. Moreover, the project would facilitate a liaison between parliamentarians and CSOs to discuss environmental issues, benefit from each other experiences, and streamline into national environment policies the experiences of the CSOs gained through the implementation of a number of community based projects on environment.

Environment Governance

According to UN definition “Environment Governance” is a set of rules, processes and behavior that affect the way power is exercised in the field of environmental policies, particularly as regards openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence. Environment and economy include decision-making related to the country’s economic activities and its relationship with environment, this relationship does emphasize solving environmental problems, but without ignoring social, economic and developmental policy factors. Environment and political governance therefore include decision making to formulate environment policy.

Pakistan had its first National Environment Policy passed by cabinet in July 2005. Pakistan’s federal and all the Provincial governments also commemorated June 5 as the “World Environment Day” as its commitment to conserve environment. Pakistan Environment Protection Act also makes IEE/Environment Impact Assessment mandatory for all new industries and projects. Though this policy gives a very comprehensive strategy to attain the goal of environmental sustainability and is mandatory for all, yet no policy can bear any results unless a strong political will is there to achieve the targets. What is even more vital is a demand by the public to have environmental sustainability for creating a political will for the implementation of any policy.

CRCP in collaboration with UNDP did a detail study and made a “Checklist of Governments Commitments on Sustainable Environment through Environment Conservation and Protection”. The study probed the impediments faced in the successful implementation of the quality and environmental standards proposed in the National Environment Policy. The published report probed into issues of non-compliance like; the requirement of industrial unit in category “A” to submit Environmental Monitoring Reports on monthly basis, and of industrial unit in category “B” to submit Environmental Monitoring Reports on quarterly basis. The study clearly highlighted that objective could not be materialized owing to the non responsive attitude of the industrial units and insufficient capacity and political will of the environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve the required compliance. It was also observed that most industries have started without adequate water disposal planning and water treatment plants, CRCP requested to reduce duty on waste minimization technology.

Implementation of Quality Standards & Regulations

Among the critical issues facing the water supply sector in Pakistan is the absence of an integrated approach among relevant government agencies for addressing water-related issues this is further augmented by inefficient institutional capacities, poor linkage among urban and rural water development projects, to name a few. The water shortage and increasing competition for multiple uses of water has also contributed adversely to the quality of water. Disinfection is the main microbiological barrier required for all waters but there is an obvious absence of comprehensive guidance available for establishing and maintaining good disinfection practice. All this points to a strong need for optimization by the water management authorities for improving the overall efficacy of the water system in terms of both standards and quality.

CRCP strongly advocates for “Tap Water Quality Standards” for provision of safe drinking water to the people. Project findings presses for the need for the formulation of a comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring Programme and Water Quality Monitoring Law and for their effective implementation at national level. Reduced risk of failure and improved security of disinfection, developed within a Drinking Water Safety Plan framework is required. As a monitoring mechanism CRCP also prepared environmental governance fact sheets on quarterly basis that observed the actions taken or postponed by the government on environmental issues particularly regarding implementation of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) on disposal of industrial and municipal waste water.

Although the provision of potable water to quality standards primarily remains to be the responsibility of the authorities however, understanding the consequent effects and implications of the actions that contribute towards water degradation by the community itself helps to empower them. High levels of unaccounted for water are also a major reason for intermittency in the supply of water. CRCP believes that Public-private partnerships on provision of safe drinking water and improving its quality need to be strengthened.

The goals for the urban rural water supply sectors as defined in the Ten Year Perspective Plan include provision of safe drinking water to 96% of the urban and 75% of the rural population by the year 2011. Coverage for sanitation and sewerage is to be increased to 80% of the urban population and 50% of the rural population by 2011. However, after the devolution of the elected local governments at the union council, tehsil, town, district and city district levels, planning, investment and control of municipal services that also covered water supply, sanitation, solid waste disposal was adversely effected.

Safe Drinking Water Quality Tests

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.

 

Water Distribution Network Analysis

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