A borehole is being made in New Karachi. Under new regulations, individual residential houses are exempt from obtaining a licence for extraction of subsoil water.—Shakil Adil / White Star
A borehole is being made in New Karachi. Under new regulations, individual residential houses are exempt from obtaining a licence for extraction of subsoil water.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: The provincial government has approved Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation’s regulations to regulate and control subsoil water extraction and prevent its illegal extraction for industrial and commercial purposes.

A gazette notification of the Groundwater (Extraction, consumption and management) Regulations-2024 was issued on May 16.

According to the regulations, licences will be issued for two years for extracting underground water in industrial areas and meters will be installed on all boreholes.

Under the regulations, all previous licences have been cancelled and now one licence would allow four boreholes.

Five-member committee formed to grant licence for groundwater extraction

Additional boreholes will require a separate licence and a licence from the water utility was made mandatory for using underground water for industrial purposes.

Talking to Dawn, KWSC chief executive officer engineer Syed Salahuddin Ahmed said that if water theft or illegal sales were proven, the water utility could impose a fine of Rs5 million on the licence holder.

He said that the implementation of this law would significantly increase the water utility’s income and stop the illegal water extraction for commercial and industrial purposes.

Mr Ahmed emphasised that the new administration of the water corporation was taking strong measures to ensure fair distribution of water, and negligence would not be tolerated.

The new regulations categorised water into five types — industrial, groundwater operator, commercial, healthcare and educational institutes, and residential complexes.

The KWSC chief formed a five-member committee for issuing underground water licences.

The committee would be led by Owais Malik, with members Muhammad Dilawar Jafri, Muhammad Khalid Farooqui, Mirza Obaid-Ur-Rehman, and Syed Hasnain Abbas.

Interested applicants must submit their licence applications through the chairman or president of their respective industrial estate to the water utility chief and the committee would review the applications and decide on approval or rejection.

According to the new law, those with records of water theft or illegal sales would have their licences revoked under the Subsoil Water Regulation Act 2018.

Under the regulations, boreholes or tube wells cannot be placed within 330 feet of the KWSC’s conduits, bulk lines, reservoirs, or pumping stations, and they must not exceed a diameter of 24 inches.

Violators will face strict legal action, including immediate licence cancellation.

As per regulations, a person having criminal record regarding theft of water from the pipelines or infrastructure of the water utility, or involved in illegal sale of water, or had its licence revoked under the Subsoil Water (Extraction and Consumption) Regul­ation-2018 or has been declared insolvent by any court of law shall be ineligible for the grant of licence.

According to the law, the person applying for the industrial use as an individual unit is bound to consume the water extraction for itself and further sharing or supplying of extracted water to nearby or other industrial units is not allowed.

For individual industrial extraction, the person has to apply separate licence for individual industrial unit.

Besides, under no circumstances transportation of groundwater (processed or otherwise) shall be allowed through bulk water tankers/bowsers, but shall not be applicable to the bottled or water under small containers.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Royal tantrum
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Royal tantrum

The PML-N's confrontational stance and overt refusal to respect courts orders on arguably flimsy pretexts is a dangerous sign.
Bangladesh chaos
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Bangladesh chaos

The unfortunate events playing out in Bangladesh should serve as a warning sign for other South Asian states.
Fitch’s estimate
20 Jul, 2024

Fitch’s estimate

FITCH seems to be more optimistic about Pakistan accelerating its economic growth rate to 3.2pc during this fiscal...
Misplaced priorities
Updated 19 Jul, 2024

Misplaced priorities

The government must call its APC at the earliest and invite all stakeholders to take part; this matter cannot be delayed further.
Oman terror attack
19 Jul, 2024

Oman terror attack

THE normally peaceful sultanate of Oman was shaken by sectarian terrorism on Monday when militants belonging to the...
Urban flooding
19 Jul, 2024

Urban flooding

THE provincial authorities have been taking precautionary measures, or so we have been told, to cope with emergency...