Karachi might face a water crisis for another 24 hours as a 72-inch-diameter Dhabeji pumping station pipeline burst during the wee hours of Tuesday.
Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) spokesperson claimed that the dent in the city’s water supply was a result of the fluctuation in K-Electric’s feeder that created a surge in the huge pipeline at around 1:30am. The 72-inch pipeline provides 55MGD water to Karachi and is considered one of its 10 main pipelines connected to Dhabeji pumping station.
“Around 150 million gallons of water (MGD) will be lost because of the bursting of the water pipeline,” said Abdul Rehman Shaikh, the superintendent engineer of bulk water supply. Currently, the water being supplied to Karachi after the bursting of pipeline is only 450MGD, even though the demand is as high as 1,100MGD in the metropolis.
The technical team of KWSB, along with heavy machinery, was sent to the affected area after the pipeline burst. “The repair work was initiated at 8am Tuesday morning. The repair work can last up to 24 hours, whereas another 24 to 36 hours will be required for charging the line,” Shaikh said.
Meanwhile, KWSB Managing Director Hashim Raza Zaidi expressed concern over the electricity suspensions or fluctuations experienced at Dhabeji and other pumping stations. According to him, the line was laid in 1972 and gets affected on a continuous basis at weak points due to back pressure of water caused by sudden disruption at the pumping stations that pump water to 4-bay, the highest point from where the water goes by its gravity.
However, Zaidi claimed the water supply will be managed and no particular areas of the city will get affected with the shortage of water caused due to the burst of water pipeline. Distribution will be managed accordingly, as nine other pipelines have been supplying water to Karachi, he added.
K-Electric refuses to take the blame
“Blaming K-Electric for the bursting of water supply line is incorrect,” said Sadia Dada, the power utility’s communications director. However, she admitted that due to unforeseen reasons, power supply to Dhabeji pumping station was affected during the wee hours of Tuesday.
She clarified that the pumping station is exempted from load-shedding and a team of technicians have been appointed by K-Electric to overcome any fault in the area because the power utility believes that water is an important utility.