Water and Sanitation in Multan, Pakistan
While Pakistan is blessed with adequate surface and groundwater resources, rapid population growth, urbanization, and unsustainable water consumption practices fell out upon the quality and quantity of water resources in the country. Worse water quality and contamination of lakes, rivers, and groundwater aquifers have resulted into increased waterborne diseases and other health impacts. Salinity of groundwater is further increasing. Industrial wastewater polluted with toxic chemicals, organic matter, and heavy metals is discharged directly into public sewers without prior treatment, and leaching of wastes into groundwater results into outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Multan town is among those most stricken by water pollution, and access to safe water is paramount important. In the framework of the Pakistan–Italian Debt for Development Swap Agreement Project: “Sustainable Social Economic and Environmental Revitalization in the historic core of Multan City,” we aim at proposing possible strategies for fulfilling such request under a number of environmental constraints. Chenab River is the main stream of the area and as well the main source of surface water and groundwater recharge. Contamination of water supply has become a critical issue in Multan, since the majority of households use their own wells. Concerning sewerage, the municipal facility is serving at present 55 % of the population. Only one treatment plant is currently available in the north of town. Sewers are currently overexploited, with chronic overflowing, arising from the combined effects of low capacity, silting, and inadequate control of industrial wastewater. We design here a water supply network with tanks and wells for the walled city around the three main bazars that will provide water to the buildings. Meanwhile it is important to make water quality analysis on the water actually used by the people. Regarding sewerage, the goal is to replace the present open drains with a closed sewer system, delivering to the main sewer pipes along the citadel’s perimeter. We propose a combined system (wastewater and storm water), which will significantly improve hygienic conditions in the area. In addition, in the past an improper disposal of industrial wastes from fertilizer plants and tanneries has caused a significant pollution of Hexavalent Chromium, posing with severe threats to human health. This calls for accurate analysis of the groundwater in Multan area. As such, one needs to systematically assess water quality both into wells and into sewer pipes. This may provide pieces of information for efficient and sustainable water management.
KeywordsSewer System Hexavalent Chromium Master Plan Waterborne Disease Sewer Network
We acknowledge the personnel of WASA, BZU, and PMU for on-site assistance and cooperation. Personnel of Fondazione Politecnico di Milano are acknowledged for supporting with logistics and expedition organization.
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