islamabad - Unsafe drinking water is being supplied at the main cafeteria and third floor of the Parliament House, says a microbiological analysis report of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR).

The report was prepared by the PCRWR last month and seen by The Nation. The report said that the results of microbiological analysis showed that out of four water samples collected from the Parliament House, two were found unsafe for drinking purpose. The PCRWR found the water samples taken from filter water, ground floor, main cafeteria, and filter water, room number 327, at the 3rd floor as unsafe. However, water samples taken from Electric Section and Assembly Hall were found safe for consumption.

On the other hand, the PCRWR found all the three samples taken from the Parliament Lodges as safe for drinking purpose. The sample points were H-Block underground tank, G-Block underground tank and F-Block underground tank (Parliament Lodges); and filter water electric section, filter water assembly hall 2nd floor, filter water, ground floor, main cafeteria, and filter water, room number 327, at 3rd floor (Parliament House).

The report said the PCRWR is regularly monitoring the drinking water quality of Parliament House and Parliament Lodges. The technical team of PCRWR collected water samples from three locations of the Parliament Lodges on January 5, 2016 and four locations from Parliament House on January 12, 2016. “Standard protocols were followed for water sampling, transportation, laboratory analysis and quality control for microbiological parameters. Analytical results were compared with the water quality permissible limits of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA)”, the report added.

The Capital Development Authority is responsible for ensuring quality and standard of the drinking water being supplied at the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges. A copy of the report has also been sent to the CDA for remedial measures.

A majority of the local population is exposed to the hazards of drinking unsafe and polluted water from both surface and ground water sources.

Drinking water quality is continuously deteriorating due to biological contamination from human waste, chemical pollutants from industries and agricultural inputs. The piped water also becomes contaminated because the pipes are laid very close to sewage lines or open drains, which are the cause of several waterborne diseases.

The poor quality of drinking water has forced a large cross-section of citizens to buy bottled water. But to the concern of the customers, the bottled water is not safe in every case. According to a quarterly monitoring report of PCRWR published in 2015, it had found that 17 brands are selling unsafe bottled water which can cause various diseases. Some 107 samples of mineral/bottled water brands were collected by PCRWR from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Tando Jam, Lahore, Bahawalpur, Quetta, Peshawar, Sargodha, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Karachi.

The comparison of analytical findings of the sample revealed that 17 brands — Al-Khair, Pineo, Sky Star, Niamat, Aqua National, Zindagi Plus, Days Pure, Nation, NG Fresh Water, Mazan Pure Life, Al-Haider Pure, Blu, Super Natural, Isberg, Jumeirah, Paradise and Afra — were found to be unsafe due to chemical or microbiological contamination, said the report. Out of those 17 unsafe brands, 7 brands — Al-Khair, Pineo, Days Pure, Sky Star, Niamat, Aqua National, Nation — had comparatively high level of arsenic ranging from 16-69 ppb than PSQCA water quality standard for arsenic (10 ppb).