Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rain Harvesting Project Launched in Capital

The Chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, on Monday formally launched the unique ‘Rain Water Harvesting Programme’ at the Faisal Mosque, making CDA the first ever municipality and Islamabad the first ever city of the country to successfully launch the project.

The project is aimed at tapping rainwater that in the past had been drained in the natural nullahs and had gone waste. The Rainwater Harvesting Cell, established by the CDA chairman, started work on this project some time back and decided to set up the pilot project close to Faisal Mosque, which has a 0.3 square kilometre paved area and was ideal for setting up such a project because any amount of run-off water following rains could be tapped and used for the project.

The Rainwater Harvesting Cell, headed by the Director Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of the Authority, Shahid Sohail, bored two 18 inch diameter and 150 feet deep inverted re-charge wells in addition to installing one infiltration gallery and one filter bed in this project at a cost of Rs1.5 million only.

“We put this project to experiment during the last rains and the results were tremendously encouraging,” the director STP told ‘The News’. “During the last spell of rains we received 10 millimetre of rain fall in this area that we infused into the ground using these two inverted re-charge wells. And we noticed a 11 feet rise in the sub-soil water level using the ‘Piezo Meter’ that was installed to monitor the underground water level. This amounts to almost six million gallons of water,” Shahid Sohail said.

He said that there was a network of pipelines laid under the vast compound of Faisal Mosque for flushing the run-off rain water into the nearby natural nullah. “This time we diverted all that water to these two inverted re-charge wells and achieved such encouraging results.

He also said that in addition to digging two inverter re-charge wells one infiltration gallery and one filter bed were also installed to arrest the sediments and the whole network worked perfectly.

He pointed out that the approximate annual rainfall in this region is 1.2 meter and if all this runoff water is tapped and infused into the ground using these inverter re-charge wells we would certainly be able to bring about a marvellous change in the environment.

CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said that the CDA has made comprehensive arrangements to replicate this network across the federal capital to benefit from this primary source of water — the rain — in collaboration with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Pakistan Council of Research for Water Resources (PCRWR).

The CDA chairman said that Islamabad has a huge potential to benefit from this concept to overcome the water shortage in the city as the rise in sub-soil water level will eventually enhance the output of deep-sunk tubewells installed in the green areas of the city.

The chairman said that the authority has envisaged several projects to extend the network of rain water harvesting initiatives including introduction of roof-top water collection system at old Naval Headquarters Building, incorporating rain water collection system in the Zero Point Interchange Project and infiltration of water runoff from surrounding of Kachnar Park Sector I-8 through Swales and Soak ways in addition to making preparatory work for beginning rain water harvesting system in different city parks.

He also said that an amendment has been made in the CDA Building by-laws for constructing the rooftop water collection/rain water harvesting systems in houses build on plots having area of 400 square yards or more. He said that the study for standardising the roads drainage network for future sectors is being carried out to have rainwater harvesting for making the new sectors environment friendly.

“Cleaning of ravines, being the integral part of rain water harvesting mechanism, is being carried out in collaboration with the partner organisations. Under this programme Barri Imam streams are being cleaned with bio-remediation techniques with the technical assistance of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC),” the CDA chairman said while talking to the media on the occasion.

He also said that this model would be replicated in other streams crisscrossing the city to revive their natural flow. He said that a task force for cleaning of the streams and ravines consisting of CDA officers and Civil Society has been constituted to actively pursue this programme. He said that task force has successfully taken up the work of cleaning of ravine of Sector E-7 where substantial work has been done.

The chairman also said that the CDA has taken up the issues with the major polluters including Air and Naval Headquarters and housing societies in Sector E-11 and has urged them for construction of their own Sewage Treatment Plants (STP). He said that Metro Cash and Carry Store and Quaid-e-Azam University are constructing their own STP.

“Similarly, the entire sewage of the Village Chak Shahzad has been diverted to NARC farm for treatment through bio-remediation and utilisation of the treated water by NARC. We are making concrete efforts to make Islamabad an environment friendly city and a model municipality for the rainwater harvesting initiatives. In this connection the cooperation of the allied organisations is imperative to make this venture a success,” Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said.


  1. Nice info !! I have never even thought of water harvesting in such a big level but if it could be possible it can solve the water shortage of whole city.
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  2. That is some nice information about rainwater harvesting, and it will surely help for raising the level of ever shrinking groundwater.
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