To safeguard the water supply of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, inclusive of the Cantt areas, two mega water projects have been greenlit for the establishment of four state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants at Rawal Dam and the modernization of the sewage system in the upscale Satellite Town.
Two Mega Water Projects
Reliable sources reveal that the estimated sewage treatment plant installation budget stands at Rs 5.24 billion, while the Satellite Town sewerage system upgrade project is allocated Rs 200 million. These initiatives are part of the Punjab Government’s Annual Development Programme and will be executed by the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa). The Punjab government has released the required funds as part of its annual development programme budget.
The Rawal Dam catchment area spans 20 square kilometers, collecting water from the Margalla and Murree hills. Unfortunately, due to a lack of treatment, this water has been increasingly contaminated over the years. The four sewage treatment plants will be strategically positioned across the dam to process water from all catchment areas effectively.
Rawal Dam, established in 1960, has seen a continuous expansion of its catchment area, prompting the need for urgent measures. The Environment Protection Department has taken water samples from various areas surrounding the dam, sending them to the forensic science lab for quality testing.
To address the pollution issue comprehensively, both the federal and Punjab governments have collaborated to implement projects that treat all incoming water into Rawal Dam. The installation of filters in different catchment areas has also been approved to enhance the overall quality of water.
Additionally, Wasa has sanctioned a grant of Rs 240 million to upgrade the aging sewage system in Satellite Town. The caretaker Punjab government has allocated this amount in the provincial interim budget covering the period from November 1, 2023, to February 28, 2024.
Meanwhile, despite a three-year wait, the Punjab government has not released funds for the construction of six approved parking plazas in Rawalpindi. The district administration has acquired plots for five of these designated areas, intending to address traffic congestion and parking space shortages. The delay in funds has caused a surge in project costs, affecting areas such as Kacheri Chowk, Old GTS Bus Stand, Jinnah Road, Fifth Road Commercial Market, Fawara Chowk, and Bani Market.
As the projects to ensure clean water supply gain momentum, stakeholders and residents eagerly await progress in the long-overdue parking plaza initiatives, crucial for mitigating traffic woes and enhancing urban infrastructure in Rawalpindi.