‘President endorses water conservation projects’


LAHORE:President Dr Arif Alvi has endorsed to replicate water conservation projects introduced by Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) in the provincial metropolis.

This was revealed by Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz while talking with the scribe here Monday. He said he recently met with President Dr Arif Alvi along with Water Commission Chairman Ali Akbar Qureshi in Islamabad.

He said a detailed briefing regarding various water conservation projects was given to the president who took extreme interest in replicating these projects across the country especially in big cities, including Karachi, Islamabad and etc.

Wasa MD said that the president liked the project of using ablution water for horticulture purposes. He said that in Lahore, the project was introduced at over 150 mosques situated in various public parks. Small water storage tanks were constructed in which ablution water was stored and then reused for horticulture purposes.

Wasa MD further said that he told the president that the City would soon have its first-ever surface water treatment plant as Wasa had started land acquisition process for the project worth billions of rupees after getting a final go-ahead from the federal government. He said Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had also agreed to provide a soft loan for the mega project conceived by the agency in a bid to provide clean drinking water to the citizens. He said the project would help in saving the underground water aquifer of the provincial metropolis for future generations.

He said the president also took interest in the project of installation of water meters in the provincial capital. He said at an estimated cost of around Rs10 billion, Wasa has planned to install over 0.7 million water meters out of which 93 percent will be installed on domestic premises and remaining 7 percent at commercial ventures. Wasa MD said that the Punjab government had already given a go-ahead to Wasa’s proposal “Procurement, Installation, O&M of Water Meters in Lahore” and allowed the agency to install multi-jet dry type smart meters with a life of 15 years.

He said he told the president that the meters would improve revenue collection, minimise illegal connections, non-revenue and unaccounted for water, conserve water and minimise water pumping cost. The project will be completed in a period of two years, he maintained and added that Wasa would reimburse 40 percent of new meter’s cost to private party after installation of each water meter while it would recover the cost by charging consumer.

The main reason for this move is water conservation, which has already become one of the paramount concerns for the country as depth of underground water table is declining rapidly, Wasa MD said, adding in absence of water meters at production, distribution and consumer ends, the quantity of water produced, supplied, and lost cannot be accurately measured.

Another project, in which the president took keen interest, was use of recycled water for washing vehicles at service stations. Wasa MD said that he told the president that recycling setup was installed at every service station in Lahore and now majority of service stations were using recycled water for washing of vehicles.

Besides this, Water Commission chairman also gave detailed briefing to the president on imposing and recovery of aquifer charges from bottled water companies as well as private housing societies.

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