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Murad lashes out at KWSB for ‘misleading’ govts on Karachi’s water issue

December 20, 2017

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THERE is no doubt that the decrepit water supply and drainage system of the KWSB needs overhaul. Much water is wasted through seepage and leakage, as this burst freshwater pipeline in Pak Colony on Tuesday shows.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
THERE is no doubt that the decrepit water supply and drainage system of the KWSB needs overhaul. Much water is wasted through seepage and leakage, as this burst freshwater pipeline in Pak Colony on Tuesday shows.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday expressed annoyance over the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board for “misguiding” successive governments about the actual requirement of water in the metropolis and said that the problem lay with the decades-old distribution network which had completed its age and needed replacement.

Chairing a follow-up meeting in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives regarding provision of safe drinking water to every citizen, the CM said that Karachi’s population was 16 million as per the provisional results of the population census and in view of this the water requirement of the metropolis should not exceed 800 million gallons daily.

Sources said the CM’s strong response came when KWSB Managing Director Hashim Raza Zaidi tried to explain the water utility’s efforts to bridge the demand and supply gap in the city.

Asks local govt minister to prepare a plan to replace decades-old pipelines

CM Shah told the meeting that the KWSB itself said that per person water requirement was 50 gallons daily by their estimate and keeping in mind the census results, the water requirement for 16m people stood at 800 MGD.

He said currently the KWSB was getting 650 MGD, which by the end of 2018 would increase by 260 MGD from K-IV and 65 MGD from another small scheme. “Thus 975 MGD water would be available in the city which would be enough for another three to four years,” he pointed out.

He said the bureaucracy of KWSB and the Sindh local government department had been misguiding politicians for the past many years by presenting figures based on miscalculations of water requirement.

“I am a professional engineer, you cannot misguide me,” he snubbed the KWSB officials. “The actual problem is rusted, defective, old and contaminated distribution network.” He directed Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro to prepare a plan to replace the old water supply lines in phases.

He said the government would provide funds regardless of the project’s cost as pipelines were not only contaminating water but also wasting it through seepage.

New pipelines to cost Rs200bn

The LG minister said that there was 1,200-km-long water supply network in the city and its replacement would cost around Rs200 billion.

The chief minister said: “I would suggest you collect area-wise data of the water supply lines laid there and then start replacing the oldest one in the first phase,” he said.

He added there were old areas where water distribution pipelines were laid about 60 to 70 years ago and some were said to be around 100 years old.

The meeting was told that the municipal, hospital and industrial waste water was being released into Lyari and Malir rivers.

The CM was told that there was a plan to install a 94 MGD waste water treatment plant.

KWSB asked to install own power plant

The LG minister informed the CM about the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company’s demand from the KWSB for Rs 6bn so that it could supply 50 megawatts to the K-IV pumping stations at the Keenjhar Lake.

Mr Shah asked the KWSB as to why it was not going to install its own LNG-based or wind power plant of 50MW instead of paying a hefty sum of Rs6bn.

“Funds are available for K-IV. I would suggest you install your personal power plant of 50MW and pump Rs2bn equity, and a private party and the government would become their partners for construction of power plant and transmission line for water board,” he said.

The chief minister asked Energy Secretary Agha Wasif Abbas to work out a plan, sit together with the LG minister and KWSB MD and start a survey for the 50MW power plant.

Mr Shah also asked the divisional commissioners to plan water supply schemes from the Indus River for cities located on or along the embankment.

He also asked them to take necessary measures to dispose of municipal water into drains instead of letting it flow into rivers and other water bodies until water treatment plants were installed in every district and taluka headquarters.

Rs162.9bn water supply schemes by PHE dept

The chief minister was also briefed on Rs162.9bn water supply schemes of the Sindh public health engineering (PHE) department.

PHE Minister Fayaz Butt informed the meeting that 3,896 schemes, including 1,671 ongoing and 2,225 new, were in progress in 22 districts.

The chief minister directed PHE secretary Tamizuddin Khero to work out a detailed plan for construction of a drainage system for major villages in the 22 districts.

“The drainage system may be designed as per population figures given in the new census,” he said.

The chief minister said that he would hold a third meeting on Dec 28 to review the progress further.

Provincial ministers Manzoor Wassan, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Advocate General Zamir Ghumro, Planning and Development chairman Mohammad Waseem, principal secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, World Bank representatives, KWSB officials and others attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2017