AAMER WAQAS CH talks to the former Managing Director WASA Syed Imran Raza Zaidi
The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) faces a huge task to avoid pounding of rain water in the low-lying areas of the City, but this seems to be a permanent problem with no end in sight. The recent sporadic rains have exposed the futility of such efforts though WASA is earnestly making every possible step - from emergency centres to workers in the field round the clock. The real test is yet to come. Ex-Managing Director WASA Syed Imran Raza Zaidi talks about such attempts.
Following are the excerpts:-
On the water shortage
Due to the continuous electricity breakdowns, the water supply gap increases. After that, a certain level of pressure is to be attained to run water in empty pipes, which takes a lot of time.
On the WASA plan
We have developed two-pronged strategy - Long term and short term plans being worked out under the Annual Development Programme. Under the long term head, two schemes have been chalked out. First is savage and drainage in the walled city - providing and improving sewage facilities in the deficient areas and cover the sewage not done because of the fund deficiency. The Khushal Pakistan Scheme includes replacement, augmentation and expansion of the water supply lines of grey areas. The data base is also being prepared. Under the Immediate Action Plan, 900 schemes at a cost Rs 100 crore have been visualised to address acute needs of water shortage, sewage and drainage. This plan has been prepared in consultation with the Nazims of different areas and presented to Mian Amir Mahmood. Rs 358 million have been allocated for phase I - tubewells, water supply lines, sewage and drainage scheme; and some money is allocated for equipment. Seven Katchi Abadis have been identified where work worth Rs 12.8 million is in progress. For Quaid-i-Azam Town (Township), Rs 26 million (20 schemes) have been allocated. Rs 185 million are reserved for Sandah Kalaan and Gulshan Ravi (Union Council 83-84 ). There is also a master plan for collector channel and treatment of waste. Long term planning or Forward looking plan, spanning ten year (till 2013), aims at updating the entire existing sewage and drainage infrastructure at the cost of Rs 28 billion. Rs 14 billion for updating water supply sewage and drainage. The remaining amount for waste water treatment plants at six places. Efforts are being made through the government and foreign firms for soft loans and grant.
On the efforts for the Walled city
The sewage system of the Walled city is more than 60 years old, which has become inadequate and immense remodelling is required. Any disruption in the sewage and pumping stations results in pounding of water depending on the intensity and duration of rain. In case of the electricity breakdown, two-phase generators have been installed. We are trying to respond to the adverse effects of rain in the best possible manner in these areas. Standby generators, operation of the double Feeders of WAPDA at pumping stations and Pumps and motors have been tested. Moreover, repair of standby motors was completed by June 30.
On the Monsoon plan
Desilting and cleaning of drains and Sewers was completed by the mid-June. This is a continuous activity, which is carried out due to indefinite ingress of solid waste into drains and sewers. This was undertaken in October last year. The second step is the deployment of de-watering sets in low lying areas. 220 de-watering sets have been installed at 55 different locations in six towns, and the instalment was completed by June 30. Ravi Town, Shalimar Town and Aziz Bhatti Town have been assigned to SWM and Gunj Buksh Town, Iqbal Town and Nishter Town are reserved for WASA. Drainage Emergency Centres have been established, which would be doing repairs in case of breach of drains, removal of blockages in drains and at the inlet points. For this purpose, staff has been deployed around the clock. The locations are: Lakshmi Chowk, Upper Mall Reservoir, Sharanwala Gate at Circular Road, Rasool Park at Cantonment Drain (Mian Meer Drain) and Lytton Road Lift Station. Activation of Complaint Monitoring Center (CMC) at WASA Head Quarter (Gulberg) is another tangible step in this context. This place is equipped with wireless system and telephones connecting 11 Sub Base Wireless Stations located all over the City. Operation would be started round the clock. Communication and feed back to and from field formation would be carried under the supervision by Director and Deputy Director. The last step is the issuing of SOP for disposal of rain water - Directions issued to all Operation and Maintenance Staff for strict compliance of the SOP. Quantity of rain does not matter, but our system is affected by intense rain for longer duration. We better prepared as compared to the last years. We have reduced evacuation time for drainage of rain water in critical low lying areas and we are improving upon it. We should keep in our mind that our system is very old and we cannot get rid of this problem till old lines are not replaced. But public awareness is one the key factors for the smooth flow of the system. First, they should avoid solid waste dumping and secondly, pay their dues in time for better service.