The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH Pakistan) has signed a partnership agreement with the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan to conduct a study for a sustainable solution of drinking water supply for central Hunza sourced from Attabad lake. The feasibility will include Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessments of the supply line and eight settlements. The agreement was signed between the Planning and Development Department of Gilgit Baltistan, the District of Hunza, and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Hunza.
Central Hunza faces acute water shortage as most settlements depend on two glacial melt streams (Hassanabad Nallah and Ultar Nallah) as their primary source of water. The recent glacial lake outburst floods from both glaciers have severely impacted water supply and other community infrastructure. Growth in tourism to the area, critical for economic development, adds further pressure on the region’s water resources. Using its rich experience around the design and implementation of water supply systems in mountain areas combined with its hazard risk assessment and overall habitat planning expertise AKAH will provide technical support to the Government on this highly important study.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Syed Abrar Hussain Shah, Additional Chief Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan, said that “The Government of Gilgit Baltistan is grateful to Aga Khan Development Network for realizing several development projects, reducing poverty and empowering communities. We value AKAH’s support to the government of GB on various development initiatives particularly around climate change and providing access of clean drinking water to the rural and urban areas in Gilgit Baltistan.”
In his address, Mr. Fayaz Ahmed, Deputy Commissioner Hunza, shared that “This partnership with AKAH will enable us to provide sustainable access to clean drinking water to 5,500 households, commercial entities, health and education facilities from eight settlements of central Hunza including Faizabad, Altit, Karimabad, Ganish, Garelth, Haiderabad, Dorkhand and Aliabad This feasibility study will not only identify solutions for the current needs of the community but also help boost the tourism potential of the area in the years to come”
In his remarks, Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan shared that “AKAH has the mandate of creating resilient human habitats and we will support any initiative that is aligned with our mandate.” He further said “AKAH is thankful to the government for all its support that has enabled us to serve communities in need.”
Over the last two decades, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan has provided 500,000 people with water and sanitation facilities across Pakistan mainly in mountain communities. This has resulted not only in reducing waterborne diseases but also improved health and economic conditions as well as reduced the burden on women and girls of fetching water from long distances.