Islamabad: Around 84 per cent of Pakistan’s estimated 200 million population does not have access to safe drinking water, according to information provided to the Senate by the government.

Quoting a study conducted by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanvir Hussain told the Senate on Tuesday that only 72 per cent of water supply schemes in the country were found to be functional and 84 per cent of those had supplied water that was not fit for consumption.

Water from 14 per cent of water supply sources in Sindh and Punjab provinces was found to be heavily contaminated with arsenic, well above the permissible limit of 50 parts per billion, the minister said.

He said 279 million rupees (Dh9.77 million) had been spent on the project — Provision of Safe Drinking Water — over the past four years.

As part of the project, six regional water quality laboratories had been upgraded and 17 new water quality testing laboratories had been established at the district level.

Funds were also used on the capacity building of 3,000 professionals associated with water supply agencies, he said.

Meanwhile, law minister Zahid Hamid informed the Senate commercial banks in the country had earned profits exceeding 472 billion rupees in the last three years, Dawn online reported.