Experts on Friday expressed concerns over the looming water crisis in the country and called for collective efforts to conserve depleting water resources.
They said that water conservation was the collective responsibility of everyone and stressed on involving all stakeholders at every stage or else there would be no water if the practice of wasting water continued. They expressed these views at an event organised by Association of Water and Sanitation Services Companies Khyber Pakhtunkhwa here on eve of World Water Day.
Prominent among the speakers were Secretary Local Government, Department Zahir Shah, Chairman AWSC Nasir Ghafoor, former VC of University of Engineering and Technology Imtiaz Gillani, Prof Dr Sagheer Alam and heads of all water and sanitation services companies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
While speaking on the occasion, Zahir Shah said that people were the biggest stakeholder who should realise importance of water and save it. “Though the government is taking steps on multiple fronts to conserve water but it would not bear fruits unless people play their due role,” he said.
To conserve water, he said, that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has started charging Rs1 per litre from water companies in light of the Supreme Court judgment. He added that CCTV cameras will soon be installed on commercial utilities, adding that legislation was underway to charge consumers for extraction of ground water.
“The provincial government has too constituted a task force led by minister for LG that will make strategy to conserve water and ensure everyone’s access to it,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer WSSP Zafar Ali Shah informed the participants about steps being taken to provide potable water to residents of Peshawar and water conservation. He said that WSSP also replaced 284 kilometre rusted water pipeline and conducted 2,000 water quality tests jointly with UET Peshawar and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to check contamination.
On conservation, he said that all car wash centres, wedding halls and bottled water companies were being registered and installation of meters on them was underway. WSSP CO Zafar Ali Shah said that efforts were underway to include lessons on water and sanitation in syllabus from primary to secondary school certificate level.
Former vice chancellor UET Peshawar, Imtiaz Gillani said that 844 million people have no access to clean drinking water worldwide. “We must take steps to conserve water before it is too late,” he warned.
“In Pakistan we have access to one percent of fresh water of which a major chunk goes to agriculture sector,” said Dr SagheerAlam, teacher at University of Engineering Technology Peshawar. He suggested to install water meters and charge all those who use this precious commodity otherwise people would not take care of it.
“Water is, no doubt, a gift of God and basic right of everyone, but no one has the right to waste it,” he said. He lamented that people have been wasting it as if it would be available forever.