Lahore has been facing a severe case of unplanned expansion for decades, left unchecked, this growth will wreak havoc on the food and water supply for the citizens of Lahore. This unregulated expansion has caused numerous settlements to pop in and around the city expanding the boundaries and extracting water resources unchecked.
This over-extraction is putting stress on the water resources of Lahore causing the water table to plummet to a great extent. Lahore’s water table lowers from 2.5 to 3 feet every year due to the mismanaged use of water resources. Hundreds of water pumps by WASA or other private residential schemes have been installed in Lahore in recent years to meet the growing requirements of residents.
This surge in water pumps in and around the city has resulted in an unsustainable system of water inflow and outflow through the only aquifer of Lahore. According to the data from 2014, this aquifer loses 250 million cubic meters (MCM) of water per year due to the difference in outflow and inflow. The city requires a total of 3.79 MCM/day which is shockingly high considering the water resources present at this point.
Even the rainwater in the city is wasted because over construction in the city leaves little to no open space for this water to seep down. Lack of planning in this rapid urbanization has also lead to faulty aquifer recharging strategies and imprudent water usage trends.
As one cannot stop the growth of population or the rising need for housing, the only solutions left for such problems are managing water consumption, expanding the city vertically, and regulating housing schemes to stop the over expansion of Lahore. PM Imran addressed these issues and presented The Ravi City project as a way for Lahore to expand vertically. This way, the resources can be managed easily and expansion can be kept in check.
Raising awareness for the smart use of drinking water will help Lahore and her citizens a lot. Right now, the residents use drinking water for gardening, public spaces, watering plants, and everything elsewhere it is not needed. This is quite a wasteful use of drinking water. Citizens can and must keep tanks to store rainwater which can be used for such tasks and recharged wells should be established if recharging the aquifer is not feasible right now.
All of these steps combined with this new initiative of vertical expansion of Lahore in the form of The Ravi City can surely save it from an otherwise catastrophic water shortage.