Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) intends to develop urban areas of the province into sustainable, livable and well-managed engines of economic growth. Urban development and its management are critically linked with sound, comprehensive and strategic metropolitan level long-term planning. Over the years, rapid urbanization has changed the socio-economic and physical characteristics of the cities. The physical growth of the cities has emerged in a very different way from the land uses proposed in master plans and other such documents.
Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province, is rapidly urbanizing being a regional urban center of key commercial, financial, industrial and socio-cultural significance. The estimated population of Lahore is above 10 million.
The Ravi, a transboundary river of India and Pakistan, is an integral part of the Indus River basin and forms the headwaters of the Indus basin. The waters of the Ravi drain into the Indian Ocean through the Indus River in Pakistan. Subsequent to construction of Thein Dam in 2000 upstream of Madhopur headworks in India, surface flow to the Ravi has reduced to negligible level during winter months. Average annual flow between 1985 and 1995 was recorded as 5 MAF and due to irrigation and hydro power diversions in India, the average annual flow between the years 2000-2009 was reduced to 1.1 MAF. The Ravi remains almost dry except the monsoon season.
In addition to lower water level flows, the Ravi River at the downstream of Lahore also faces pollution problems. A 72 km stretch from Lahore Siphon to Baloki headworks indicates heavy contamination of the water and sediment with various heavy metals owing to municipal and industrial sewage being disposed of untreated. Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) Lahore, through its twelve disposal stations, discharges wastewater of the entire city directly to the Ravi River.
A substantial quantity of wastewater amalgamation into the Ravi River without treatment is a grave risk to the ecosystem, particularly the ground water source. According to a study, the increasing tendency of contaminants in the river can become more hazardous and may cause severe menace to quality of groundwater in the coming days, which is the potential source of drinking water for Lahore city.
In view of the city’s projected expansion and issues related to water in the Ravi River, Government of the Punjab has planned the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development on both banks of the river alongside a 46 km long stretch that is contiguous to Lahore district’s northern and western boundaries through its authority Ravi Urban Development Authority.