SRINAGAR: It will not be an exaggeration to say that health of hundreds of thousands of dwellers of Srinagar depends on how Ali Muhammad Mir performs his job.
Mir is one of the dozens of employees at water filtration facility at Rangil, which supplies 30 million gallons of clean drinking water a day to most parts of the capital.
“Quenching somebody’s thirst has been described as one of the most rewarding deeds in our scriptures. To ensure that water is clean is equally rewarding,” said Mir, who has 30 years’ experience in the Public Health Engineering department.
Mir and about 90 of his colleagues work in shifts round the clock to ensure a continuous supply of drinking water.
Nothing pains them more than wastage of drinking water.
“People should come here and see what it takes to ensure clean drinking water. Wasting water is criminal…Srinagar residents should thank heavens that they still get clean water through taps,” he said.
Abdul Rahim Hajam, who monitors work at the plant, said untreated water from glaciers is fed into the treatment plant by a canal from Sindh Nallah.
The water is first cleared of silt using poly aluminum chloride. It then passes through filtration chambers filled with sand and gravel. The water is chlorinated in the final step in the reservoir which feeds the distribution lines.
Mir has been assigned the most critical job, which is that of filtration, a process through which most of the impurities get cleaned.
Mir said filtration beds need regular cleaning and a team of employees work round the clock.
To clean the filtration tank, he said, about 83,000 gallons of clean water is required.
Mir now has company. Haroon Rashid Khan, who joined the team a year ago, is learning the nuts and bolts of the job from Mir.
“Before my posting at the plant, I did not value drinking water. I was as careless as most of us are. Today, I value every drop of it,” Khan said.
“In fact,” Khan said, “if I am given choice between drinking bottled water and water from our own plant, I will choose the water we clean here.”
Hourly tests are carried out to ensure purity of water, Khan said, while a monthly test is done to check the presence of iron, calcium and magnesium.
Rangil plant was established nearly three decades ago, after authorities realised Nishat and Alesteng plants were not catering to the demands of the growing city.
Apart from feeding old city, Rangil also supplies water to Bemina, Mujgund, Palpora and JVC after a new 10-MGD capacity plant was added to the existing facility in 2010.