Amid water shortages, tankers business thrives in Karachi

Published July 4, 2022
Water tankers are getting filled at an official hydrant in city.—White Star/File
Water tankers are getting filled at an official hydrant in city.—White Star/File

KARACHI: Acute water shortage coupled with worst loadshedding during the ongoing sweltering heat has made people’s life miserable as the lone water utility in the city — Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) — has not been ensuring adequate supply of water to residents and the ‘water tanker mafia’ has started overcharging people, it emerged on Sunday.

Residents from different localities of the city complained that the water never reached to homes through KWSB water supply pipelines and the ‘tanker mafia’ was selling water at highly exorbitant rates.

Syed Zakir Shah, a resident of Block 13-D of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal, said the water utility had completely failed to ensure regular supply of water to his locality. “This is a fake shortage of water being artificially created to extort money through tanker mafia’s business, which is thriving with the active connivance of the KWSB officials,” he was of the view.

Insiders in the water utility told Dawn that over 550 million gallons of water a day was fed into the city’s main pumping station at Dhabeji. They said that over 40 per cent of water was either lost or stolen before it reached consumers.

Power loadshedding coincides with KWSB water supply hours in many localities

A 25-year-old resident of Khokhrapar, Malir, said that he had never seen water flowing from KWSB pipeline in his house since his childhood. “Like in every other part of the city, water cannot be obtained without installing a suction pump,” he added.

Residents of a locality in Baldia Town said that water had not been supplied in their area for the past two months. “Earlier, water used to come for two hours once a week, but now we get not a single drop in months,” one of them said.

While the complaints of water scarcity kept on pouring in from almost every locality of the city, the worst-hit areas were DHA, Clifton, Saddar, Burns Road, Garden, Landhi, Malir, Korangi, Orangi Town, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Shah Faisal Colony.

An official of the water utility, however, said that they were supplying water to different areas in the city at different times of the day and night.

There are several localities where water is supplied only for an hour that is too after 3am or 4am and most of these areas face night-time loadshedding.

“We are unable to avail ourselves of the one-hour provision of water as there is no electricity during this time in my locality,” said Uzma Khan, a resident of Tariq Road.

Besides, people from different localities complained that they had been getting contaminated water for a long time.

They said that they had lodged several complaints with the water utility, which never responded.

Isha Qudwai, a resident of Mehmoodabad, said that she was compelled to buy water through tankers as contaminated water mixed with sewage was being supplied to her locality for the past four months.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022

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