KWSC seeks Rs12bn from Sindh govt for new Hub Canal project

Published May 29, 2024
A boy jumps in the Hub Canal to beat the heat. With its broken embankments, the canal is in dilapidated condition and needs urgent repair.—Online
A boy jumps in the Hub Canal to beat the heat. With its broken embankments, the canal is in dilapidated condition and needs urgent repair.—Online

• Water utility may get Rs700m in the current fiscal after approval from cabinet
• A subsidiary of defence production ministry is likely to undertake the ambitious project, says official

KARACHI: The Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) has approached the Sindh government for grant of funds required for its ambitious Rs12 billion project for construction of a new canal to supply water to the metropolis from Hub Dam and rehabilitation of the existing one, it emerged on Tuesday.

Recently, the board of the KWSC had approved the project to build another canal and rehabilitate the existing one with an estimated cost of Rs12bn.

Officials said that the provincial government would release Rs700 million, under the annual development programme of the current fiscal year, shortly for the project after the approval of the Sindh cabinet in its upcoming meeting.

Karachi has two major sources of water supply — the Indus River and the Hub Dam. The Indus source through Keenjhar Lake provides water for about 570 Million Gallons Daily (MGD), while the supply from Hub Dam through Hub Canal has considerably reduced from 100 MGD to 70 MGD.

Talking to Dawn, Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab, who is the chairman of the board of the KWSC, said that 200 MGD could be provided to the city from the dam after the completion of the new canal project in 12 months.

Around 100 MGD water is supplied to district West from the Hub Dam through the existing Hub Canal, which has been in dilapidated condition and develops cracks frequently, especially during the wet season when the dam is overflowed.

He said that the board had also noted that the decision of taking up canal repair through government funds should have been taken long ago, as the demand for water was increasing every passing day in the city.

In his letter to the Sindh chief minister, the mayor requested that the rehabilitation of Hub Canal under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode may be dropped and necessary approval may kindly be granted for the placement of funds amounting to Rs12.72bn with a breakup of Rs700 million in the annual development programme of FY24 and Rs12bn in FY25, accordingly.

Informed sources told Dawn that the CM had approved the project and directed the water utility to submit the proposal in the next cabinet meeting through a summary.

KWSC Chief Executive Officer Syed Salahuddin Ahmed told Dawn that the Hub Canal, built in 1982-84, had outlived its life over a period of time and due to flash floods in the past few years, the lining and infrastructure of the canal has been damaged.

He said that an effort had been made by the provincial government to undertake Hub Canal Rehabilitation Project under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the last three years, however, the project under PPP mode appears to be extremely high in the cost amounting to Rs75bn.

Mr Ahmed said that in the given situation, Wah Construction Limited, a subsidiary of Ministry of Defence Production, had submitted its proposal to undertake rehabilitation of existing Hub Canal and construction of the new canal of 100 MGD parallel to the existing one as well.

“The proposal has a financial cost for new canal and rehabilitation to the tune of Rs9.8 bn and Rs2.92bn, respectively,” he added.

The water utility chief said that the proposal of M/s. Wah Construction Limited was placed before the Board of KWSC in its 4th meeting on May 7, 2024 for its consideration.

“The board, after thorough deliberations, gave concurrence to the proposal and its subsequent placement before the cabinet for the decision,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2024

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