ISLAMABAD - To overcome the acute water shortage problem, the government is planning to supply 6.5 MGD water from Sawad Dam to Gwadar and its adjacent areas. “The dam is three to four times bigger than the Ankara Dam being used currently for water supply to the city,” an official of the GDA claimed. “Sawad Dam is about 57km from Gawadar area and work on the dam is near completion,” the official said, adding: “We just need to float tenders for the pipelines and pumps and hopefully it will be operational in next two years.”

Talking to The Nation, a senior official of Gwadar Development Authority said the project will cost Rs3 billion which will help mitigate water crisis in the city. The current daily water requirement of the city is about 4.5 MGD and the supply of 6.5 MGD will help resolve the crisis, the official added.

A severe shortage of drinking water has hit Gwadar area during recent month. The shortage occurred because water supply from Ankara Dam was suspended as the dam has dried up due to no rain in its catchment area over the past three years. The Ankara Kaur Dam built in 1993 and stretching over an area of 17,000 acres and was the sole source of water supply to the city and adjacent areas. Gwadar city has a population of around 1,00,000 while Gwadar town and Jawani, constituting 50 per cent of the total population of Gwadar district, was relying on the Ankara Kaur Dam for all their water needs.

Ankara Dam used to supply 3 MGD of water to Gwadar and adjoining areas, including Jewani, Peshkan, Sur Bandar, Ganz and Bal Nagor. On temporary basis the Gwadar Public Health Department was supplying water from Suntsar but the supply is not adequate to cater to the needs of people, the official said.

“We have dug ten water wells in the Suntsar area, for the supply of water to Gwadar but seven of them are functional while three are not operational,” the official said. These well can provide 5 MGD water to Gwadar, the official added. Besides, the provincial government had provided Rs15 million for water supplying through water tankers.

The development of Gwadar will be useless if no proper long term arrangements were made for the reliable water supply to the area, the official maintained.

The government installed a desalination plant at a cost of Rs1 billion in the Karwat area of Gwadar but it does not have the capacity to purify sea water in large quantity to meet the city’s requirements. The desalination plant at Gwadar is providing only 0.6 MGD instead of its original installed capacity of two million gallons per day, the official informed.

When asked how the government will ensure the smooth and uninterrupted supply of water to a prospective bigger population of the city, the official replied: “There are about 130 private housing societies to be developed in Gwadar area, and we have an agreement with them that they will install their own desalination plants.” The official further said that besides Sawad Dam to ensure the supply of water to city, they are also working on Shadi Kaur Dam. In 2011-12 the Gwadar area was facing water shortage when one gallon of water was sold for Rs1,000.