Saturday, July 28, 2012

Islamabad's taps dry up as water shortages worsen

Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio in AlertNet: ...An escalating water shortage in and around Pakistan’s bustling capital has been caused by population growth and a combination of failing rains and high temperatures which experts link to climate change.

The shortages, and growing demand for water, is leading residents who can afford it to drill boreholes, while others are forced to buy what they need from private water tankers charging exorbitant sums.

...Islamabad, situated in the scenic Margalla Hills in the country’s north-west, once received abundant rain throughout the year. For the past 10 to 12 years, however, rainfall has declined, although until now the resultant water shortages affected mostly poor and middle-income neighbourhoods.

But with too little rain to adequately recharge the underground aquifers and the large reservoirs that provide water for the city and nearby areas, the water shortage is for the first time affecting even upscale areas.

Temperatures, which until about a decade ago rarely soared beyond 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), now reach as high as 48C (118F), causing demand for water to skyrocket. “Rising temperature during summer days is a major cause of why water shortages have become routine for the last few years,” said Ghulam Rasul, chief weather scientist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department...

Seventh Avenue in Islamabad. Photograph taken from Damn-e-Koh, Islamabad, shot by Maria Ly, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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