Karachi’s water woes has its stakeholders worried too. On Friday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah formed a committee to control water theft and leakage in the city.
The decision was made at a meeting of all stakeholders. He also removed misconceptions of the stakeholders over the K-IV project and vowed to complete it.
The forum decided to control 30% water losses amounting to 174 million gallons per day (MGD) and water theft through administrative measures.
The multi-party and stakeholders conference was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani, Adviser to CM Murtaza Wahab, Waqar Mehdi and Rashid Rabbani, Mayor Waseem Akhtar, Local Government Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, Karachi Water, and Sewerage Board SecretaryAsadullah Khan, among others.
Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh and Junaid Shah, Khwaja Izhar, Mohammad Hussain, Shahi Syed, Younis Buneri, Sarwat Eijaz Qadri, PSP chief Mustafa Kamal, Arshad Vohra, Asif Hasnain, and several others attended it too.
The CM said that there was a serious water crisis in the city. “In our system, hardly 480 MGD water is available against a requirement of 1000 MGD. If we distribute it equitably, everyone would be able to get a sip of water and, if distributed inequitably, then a few people would be able to quench their thirst while others would die thirsty,” he said.
Shah said that in order to find out a solution, he had invited a multi-party conference that included all political and non-political stakeholders.
“Our presence here shows that we all have pain in our hearts for the people of Karachi who are facing water shortage,” he said. “I want you to discuss the matter with open hearts and minds, and find out a solution so that we work together to resolve it.”
On the directives of the chief minister, KWSB MD Asadullah Khan briefed the participants on the present situation. The official population of the city is 17 million and the daily requirement of water, at the rate of 45 gallons per person per day, was 918 MGD. “The total supply of water to the city is 580 MGD, of which 480 MGD water comes from Dhabeji and 100 MGD from Gharo,” he said.
Naqvi said that the KWSB would have to reduce losses of 174 MGD. Stressing transparency and governance in the water board, he suggested that the government should start recycling the already used water and provide it to the industry and other institutions.
Khwaja Izhar said the solution lies in stopping water theft and suggested registration of FIRs against pilferers.
Akhtar said that even if the K-IV project was completed, the water board would not be able to provide water to the people as the water distribution system is very defective and obsolete.
Javed Bilwani and Zubair Motiwala of KCCI said as the people did not pay their water bills, therefore slabs for the use of water should be worked out so that financial position of the water board can be improved.
The KCCI members complained that the lines, which were dedicated to industries, had been diverted to other places.
Former Karachi mayor Kamal noted that in the entire 130-kilometer strip of the K-IV project, the most expensive work is of pumping the water. He said that water lines must be laid under every road being reconstructed under the Karachi package.
Concluding the meeting, the chief minister announced the formation of a committee, comprising one representative from each group, to control water leakages, losses, and theft, and improve the distribution system for the short term. He said the committee would be notified by the local government.
He said that he was negotiating with HUBCO for procuring 1300MW power plant which would be entirely dedicated to Karachi. “It would resolve the energy shortage of the city.” As far as the water is concerned, Shah said, he was also working with HUBCO to install a desalination plant of 1200 MGD for Karachi. He said that he would speak to the prime minister about K-IV and desalination projects from Hub, during the latter’s visit to the metropolis on July 12.
The chief minister said if Hub power plant was dedicated to Karachi, there would be no need to establish separate transmission lines.
Shah remarked that he would again invite the participants of the meeting next month when NESPAK will submit its report.