Drinking Water Quality Status and Contamination in Pakistan

Drinking Water Quality Status and Contamination in Pakistan

Indus is the major river of Pakistan, flowing from Karakorum ranges to south and finally falls in the Arabian Sea. Agriculture farming has a major role in Pakistan’s economy. 27% of the total land is under farming and the main crops are wheat, maize, rice, cotton and sugarcane. 

water pollution is a physical process that occurs in various water resources such as lakes, ground water, and rivers due to anthropogenic activities [10]. The utilization of poor quality water causes waterborne diseases and their spread. In Pakistan, about 50% of diseases and 40% of deaths occur due to poor drinking water quality reported in community health studies.

In Pakistan, the main reasons of waterborne diseases in drinking water are the addition of municipal sewage and industrial wastewater at different points of the water distribution network as well as lack of water disinfection and water quality monitoring at treatment plants. Pakistan National Conservation Strategy [41] reported that water-related diseases represent 40% of the communicable diseases. In Pakistan, waterborne diseases are typhoid, giardiasis, intestinal worms, diarrhea, cryptosporidium infections, and gastroenteritis. Infant deaths caused by water-related diarrhea are 60% in Pakistan according to International Union on Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, which is the highest ratio in Asia.

. Water Quality Status in Punjab

Drinking water quality and chlorination effect of two villages in south Punjab were analyzed [73]. Results of this study highlighted that all 53 samples collected from two villages had significant numbers of E. coli bacteria before and after chlorination process. According to WHO and PEPA, drinking water should contain 0/100 mL of E. coli or coliform.

Faisalabad is known as polluted industrial city due to the inadequate treatment facilities. The impact on water resources near Samundri drain in Faisalabad showed that the ground water quality was the worst as 90% of samples were above the WHO limits with respect to TDS, Na, K, Cl, and SO

. Water Quality Status in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)

Water samples were collected from tube wells and storage tanks to determine the drinking water quality in rural areas of Peshawar. Results indicated that just 13% of the samples were negative for bacterial contamination, 40% were found in the satisfactory level, and 47% of the samples were found to be highly contaminated with E. coli

Water Quality Status in Baluchistan

Biological and chemical water quality of Baluchistan are not satisfactory as revealed by various studies. In four cities of Baluchistan, that is, Ziarat, Loralai, Quetta, and Khuzdar, the water quality was badly contaminated with microorganisms making water unfit for human use. Water samples of these cities showed that NO3 concentration was higher than the recommended limits of WHO. About 50% of water samples, collected from Ziarat, were found highly contaminated with NO3

e drinking water quality assessment of different colonies in Quetta city revealed that pH, TDS, and hardness value of all samples were within the WHO range but 50% of the samples were found to have high EC value and COD of all samples was above the critical limits of WHO

The drinking water quality of Khairpur, Sindh, showed high level coliform and fecal coliform contamination in drinking water at different points; therefore, it is not suitable for drinking purpose. It is evident from the results (high coliform and fecal coliform count at all 3 levels) that the quality of drinking water is further deteriorated in the distribution system which may be due to the leakage of pipes where sewage water enters into the municipal water. At the consumer level, the drinking water is getting more contaminated due to the unhygienic handling and uncovered storage tanks. Drinking water quality should have no coliform as well as fecal coliform present in 100 mL or 0 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 mL WHO

Water shortage is a major issue in Karachi city, which is worse in slum areas having poor infrastructure and limited facilities. The physicochemical analysis of drinking water supply lines in Orangi Town, Karachi, showed that physicochemical characteristics were within WHO permissible limits except sulphates.


This review documented the studies conducted in Pakistan on drinking water quality status and contamination, which accounted sewerage water (fecal) mixing with drinking water as dominant and primary contaminant due to the poor sanitation and sewerage system. Second source of contamination is chemical pollution from toxic substances from the industrial effluents, textile dyes, pesticides, nitrogenous fertilizers, arsenic, and other chemicals. There is a need to maintain and upgrade regular inspection of already present treatment plants. Nowadays, Government of Pakistan is going to install drinking water filter all over Pakistan. The results drew attention that sewerage contamination with drinking water must be considered as an important environmental and health issue.


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