Safe drinking water is one of the basic requirements of healthy and hygienic living. Non-availability of safe drinking water leads to many water-borne diseases, in particular those that affect the mother and child’s health.

According to Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Survey 2011-12 Report, 79 per cent sources of water supply schemes were unsafe for drinking in rural areas of the province. In addition, 88 per cent water supply schemes were found unfit at consumer’s end. Moreover, 35 per cent of the existing rural water supply schemes were either abandoned or non-functional.

Pakistan Social and Living Measurement Survey 2012-13 reported that in rural Punjab, access to safe tap water was 13 per cent.

Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) survey carried out in association with UNICEF in 2014 highlighted that excessive chemical contamination levels (total dissolved solids, arsenic, fluoride & nitrate) had rendered water of 73 per cent of the total Punjab villages unfit for drinking purpose.

In terms of ground water quality, Punjab is divided into three zones i.e. predominantly brackish, mixed (brackish/barani) and predominantly sweet.

According to a report of Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan, supported by Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE), every 5th Pakistani child under the age of five suffers from water-borne diseases, and roughly, 50 per cent of mortality and 40 per cent of hospital admissions are also caused by water-borne diseases. This situation is seriously hindering Pakistan’s endeavors to attain health and poverty-related sustainable development goals.

In order to address this situation, the Government of Punjab has initiated Saaf Pani Program to improve water supply in terms of access and quality, especially in unserved and underserved rural and peri-urban areas of the province.

Punjab Saaf Pani Company (South & North) has been established as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to conceive, plan, design, execute and manage the program for provision of safe drinking water to the communities living in those areas.