PR: The “National Water Quality Monitoring Program (NWQMP)” was initiated by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in 2002.  It was the premier project which generated the first detailed water quality profile of the country covering 23 major cities of Pakistan viz. Islamabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kasur, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Mangora, Abbottabad, Mardan, Peshawar, Khuzdar, Loralai, Quetta, Ziarat, Hyderabad, Karachi, Sukkur. During NWQMP (2002-2006).The analytical data showed that 84% water samples were found contaminated. There were four major water quality tribulations in the country i.e. Bacterial (69%), Arsenic (24%), Nitrate (14%) and Fluoride (5%). The analytical findings were compared with WHO. During 2015-16 the above noted cities (except Khuzdar), Muzafarabad, Gilgit and Badin were selected for monitoring purpose. Overall water quality results of the country show that out of 369 selected sources, 114 (31%) sources were found safe whereas 255 (69%) sources were supplying unsafe drinking water when compared with National Standards for Drinking Water Quality. Present study shows that most of the samples (57%) monitored were microbiologically contaminated. The other contaminations included: arsenic (6%), turbidity (8%), chloride (15%), nitrate (6%), TDS (11%), hardness (6%) and iron (10%).

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Target 6.1), we have to reach up to the provision of 100% safe drinking water by 2030. It is obvious from the results of present monitoring 2015-16, that during last 10 years there was about 10% improvement. If the pace for improvement in the drinking water quality remains the same, then up to 2030 we will be able to reach hardly up to 53% instead of 100% safe drinking water. The pace of improvement should be three times more than the present. This requires substantial investment in infrastructural and human resources by the provincial governments, as after 18th amendment the provision of water falls in the purview of provinces.