KARACHI, March 29: Water riots may erupt and industries shut down if the four-hour loadshedding daily at the Dhabeji pumping station continues for 10 more days, said the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board chief at a news conference at his office on Thursday.

“The wheel of the city’s industrial units will come to a halt, people will fight over water and the KWSB expensive heaving pumping machines will get damaged if the Sindh government fails to take notice of the Karachi Electric Supply Company’s four-hour loadshedding at the Dhabeji pumping station,” said KWSB managing director Misbahuddin Farid.

Telling the newsmen about the impact of the last three days loadshedding at the pumping station, he said that when a gap of 200 million gallons daily already existed in the city’s water demand and supply, it had suffered another shortfall of over 100mgd owing to the continual loadshedding at the Dhabeji pumping station and the gap would widen further in the next 10 days.

He said at a time when the city was already facing a shortfall of over 100mdg due to the loadshedding at the pumping station, the city would face another shortfall of 215mgd on Saturday as the KESC had decided to resort to an eight-hour (from 9am to 5pm) shutdown not only at the KWSB Dhabeji pumping station’s Phase 1, 2 and 3 but also at the K-III pumping station.

Referring to the accord signed between the government and the KESC management, the KWSB chief deplored that though the KWSB had been clearly defined as a strategic customer under Article-II of the implementation agreement signed between the federal government and the KESC management on Nov 14, 2005 and further validated by an amended agreement on April 2009, it seemed that the city was being pushed towards water riots.

Urging the KESC to treat the KWSB as a strategic customer and not under the KESC Act, he said the water utility had also filed a petition with the National Power and Regulatory Authority registrar on Feb 2, requesting Nepra to get prescribed a separate power tariff for the KWSB as it was neither a commercial nor an industrial organisation.

Replying to a query, the KWSB chief said that abrupt outages at the Dhabeji pumping station in the last three days had extensively damaged the station’s sensitive pumping machines, 72-inch diameter rising main and valves and, according to a rough estimate, the water utility had already suffered a loss of over Rs20 million.

He said whenever power supply to the Dhabeji pumping station, from where the city gets 550mgd out of its total supply of 650mgd, its entire supply from the Indus river source came to a sudden halt which not only caused heavy damage to the pumping machines, but often created leakages in the 72-inch diameter rising mains.

At the outset, Mr Farid claimed that the KESC, under the agreement signed between the federal government and its management, could not disrupt, discontinue or reduce the supply of electricity to the strategic consumer in any circumstances, adding that in case of default, a set procedure had been prescribed to deal with such customers.

The KWSB chief said he had already requested Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani to immediately take notice of the loadshedding persisting at the Dhabeji pumping station since Wednesday, or else the city’s water supply situation would go beyond the KWSB control.

Moreover, the provincial chief secretary and the home secretary had also been apprised of the impending danger of water riots in the city through letters, he added.

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