A severe water crisis looms over the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as the Khanpur Dam is drying up fast owing to the prolonged dry spell.
Dam officials told Dawn on Sunday that due to the decrease in the inflow of water, prolonged dry weather and no major rain in the catchment areas, underground rocks and the dam's bed had become visible at some points, which was an alarming sign.
The officials also confirmed that the water level in the reservoir had reached an alarmingly low level. On the other hand, experts also said the water table in Taxila and Wah was receding sharply, reducing the water available through tubewells.
The water level in the dam on Sunday was 1,952 feet above sea level - just 42 feet above the minimum level of 1,910 feet. The inflow into the dam was just 25 cusecs while the outflow to different civic beneficiaries for municipal water supply, including the CDA Islamabad and the cantonment board Rawalpindi, remained at 187.18 cusecs per day.
According to the officials, due to the prevailing dry spell the water level in the dam had decreased by 30 feet which may cause a supply shortage in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. They feared that the curtailment in the water supply for irrigation purposes would be inevitable if the catchment areas did not receive rains soon.
Khanpur Dam is located on the Haro River which originates from Abottabad. It is situated near Potohar Plateau and the village of Khanpur, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, about 40 km from Islamabad and 15 km from Haripur.
The dam caters to domestic water supplies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad besides supplying water to the agricultural and industrial areas surrounding the twin cities. The dam was completed in 1983 after a 15-year construction period at a cost of Pakistani Rs 1,352 million. It is 167 feet high and stores 110,000 acres feet of water.
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