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Water Quality
 
The results of various investigations and surveys by several agencies have indicated, that water pollution has become a serious problem in Pakistan. Most of the reported health problems are directly or indirectly related to water quality. The quantitative and qualitative concerns related to water, call for an action plan for efficient development, utilization and monitoring of the water resources of the country. Considering the deteriorating water quality status, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) established Water Quality Section which is responsible for following activities.

Water Quality Monitoring and Management

National Water Quality Monitoring
PCRWR started National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP) in 2002. The main objective of the programme was to establish a permanent water quality network and establish baseline status of water quality in Pakistan. Detailed water quality profile of 24 major cities and 23 surface water bodies (rivers, reservoirs/ dams, canals, etc) of Pakistan generated from first three phases of National Water Quality Monitoring Programme is available on official website of the PCRWR (www.pcrwr.gov.pk). A rural water quality monitoring project has been initiated covering 64 Tehsils in four provinces The results of the drinking water quality monitoring of 23 major cities revealed that the water resources of Pakistan are facing four major water quality tribulations: bacteriological contamination (27-100 %); arsenic (0-100 %); nitrate (0-54%); and fluoride (0-55). The water samples collected from 23 surface water bodies were all bacteriollogically contaminated and showed higher values of turbidity, TDS, nitrate and lead. Results of the rural water quality monitoring of 48 tehsils out of 64 to be monitored showed, that 80-85 % water samples are bacteriologically unsafe for drinking and contained higher values of TDS and turbidity.

Establishment of Water Quality Laboratories
The National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL), has been established at PCRWR, Headquarters, Islamabad. The NWQL is a premier laboratory for water quality testing in Pakistan. The laboratory is ISO-17025 certified and has the capabilities to analyze more than 125 water quality parameters. It has three main sections i.e.. Microbiological Analysis Section, Chemical Analysis Section and Wastewater Analysis Section. The PCRWR has upgraded its already established six water quality laboratories, at Peshawar, Lahore Bahawalpur, Tandojam, and Quetta with the latest equipment. Whereas Whereas, 18 other water quality laboratories are established at Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sialkot, Sahiwal, Multan, Mianwali, Dera Ghazi Khan, Nawab Shah, Sukkur, Karachi, Loralai, Ziarat, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbotabad, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, and Khyber Agency (under the project “Provision of Safe Drinking Water”). The PCRWR is executing its water quality monitoring activities (data/sample collection, analysis etc.) through NWQL and its regional laboratories.

Technical Diagnostic Assessment Surveys of Water Supply Schemes of Pakistan
PCRWR is also conducting technical diagnostic assessment surveys of water supply schemes of all Pakistan. Out of 12,000 water supply schemes to be completed up to 2010, (under the project “Provision of Safe Drinking Water”) surveys of 3200 schemes have been completed. The survey results revealed that 35 % water supply schemes are non-functional due to insufficient funds, repair or maintenance problems, low pressure in the system, drying of the source etc. Only 20% schemes have the availability of water treatment facility. Water quality is unsafe for drinking in 72% (83% bacteriological contamination) at the source and in 83% (86% bacteriological contamination) at the user end.

Capacity Building Program
PCRWR has initiated training courses on capacity building in water quality monitoring for the water supply agencies of Pakistan, representing Water and Sanitation Agencies, Public Health Engineering Departments, and Local Governments. Under this programme, 26 courses will be conducted in 2008 (under the project “Provision of Safe Drinking Water”), out of which 12 courses have been conducted at PCRWR, Lahore and Islamabad for technicians and middle managers.

Water Quality Management

Water Quality Testing and Advisory Services
PCRWR is providing water quality testing and advisory services to private and public sector through its National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL), Islamabad and other water quality laboratories established at its Research Centres and other regions of Pakistan.

Development of Low Cost Water Testing and Water Treatment Technologies
PCRWR has also developed low cost water testing and treatment technologies. These include; field testing kits for basic drinking water quality parameters, arsenic removal technologies and chlorinators for water purification etc.

Provision of Safe Drinking Water to the Public
The development and installation of 24 low cost water conditioning and filtration plants for provision of safe drinking water to the public is in progress. Eight plants have been installed at Islamabad, Fatehjang, Sahiwal, Sialkot, under the project “Provision of Safe Drinking Water”.

Mass Awareness
Documentation and dissemination of research findings in the form of booklets pamphlets, manuals and a mass awareness campaign through print and electronic media is also launched, highlighting the importance of safe drinking water for better health.

Water sample collection from a water supply point. Water sample collection from a hand pump
Microbiological analysis of the water samples in the Microbiological Section of NWQL, Islamabad Chemical analysis of the water samples in the Chemical analysis Section of NWQL, islamabad
A water filtration plant installed at PCRWR Headquarters, Islamabad Water testing and treatment technologies developed PCRWR
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