KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday conceded that the city’s water distribution system was so defective that some areas of the city received water round the clock while various others had to wait for weeks.
“This system needs to be made judicious,” he said and directed the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to prepare a zoning plan for water distribution at the water trunk main level and town distribution network to provide the commodity up to the tail-end consumers.
Presiding over a meeting of the KWSB, Mr Shah also decided to launch a vigorous operation against water theft so that water could be supplied to the starving areas of the city.
“The KWSB has to improve its overall performance by ushering in the best professional practices in its entire system right from the administration to water distribution, revenue collection to enhancement in revenue resources, reduction line losses to completion of its projects in time,” he said.
CM says tankers stealing water from system; orders KWSB to reduce line losses, curb water theft
Mr Shah said that the water utility was responsible for transmission and distribution of water to the people of Karachi.
The meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Administrator Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, CM’s Special Assistant Waqar Mehdi, KWSB vice chairman Najmi Alam, LG Secretary Najam Shah and others.
City receiving 406 MGD
The LG minister informed the meeting that the overall water supply to Karachi was around 406 million gallons per day (MGD) against the demand of 1,000 MGD.
He added that the distribution network outlived the water system laid decades ago. “Weak water pipe joints causing wastages and leakages of water.”
He said the KWSB took 450 MGD water from Dhabeji, 100 MGD from Hub and 30 MGD from Gharo. “In this way we have 580 MGD, of which 30 per cent, or 174 MGD, goes waste in line losses that means 406 MGD is available for the city,” he calculated.
Forty gallons of water per capita for 25 million population/water users of Karachi comes to 1,000 MGD.
According to the LG minister, the last addition in bulk water supply source was made in 2007 of 100 MGD through the K-III project.
“The power breakdowns at Dhabeji, Gharo or Hub result in immediate reduction in supply,” he said and added that the change of land use from residential to commercial had unbalanced the amount of water drawn from the existing inventory in street/roads.
The meeting was told that the water demand in each district/town had increased twice against the water supplied and the consumers close to water mains/pumping stations drew water of their need, but tail-enders or consumers in elevated areas were not getting water because of short supply.
Six ‘legal’ hydrants in city
When asked by the CM as to how people were getting water when there was such a huge shortage of 594 MGD in the city, he was informed that they were getting water through tankers.
The CM said that it meant water was available in the system from where the tankers were supplying water to meet the demand.
The LG minister said that all the illegal hydrants had been eliminated and only six legal hydrants were in operation.
CM Shah said tankers did not fetch water from Keenjhar Lake or the Indus. “They are stealing water from the water board system,” he remarked.
He directed the chief secretary to coordinate with Rangers, police, and other agencies to launch a decisive operation against water theft in the city.
“I want you [KWSB] to take action against consumers who have installed heavy pumps over water supply pipes or taken illegal water connection from the main pipes,” he said.
He also directed the water board administration to expedite their schemes for adding more water in the system and upgrade the distribution system and replacement of old pipes with new ones.
“A 65 MGD additional water supply scheme of Rs9.1 billion, rehabilitation of Hub canal and installation of five MGD desalination project under the public-private partnership mode should be taken up at a fast pace,” he said and added the KWSB must improve its performance to handle the entire operation.
Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2022