Karachi said to be the commercial hub with a
population of 14 million plus is getting only 450 Million Gallon of
potable water per day against its actual requirement of 600MGD.
Although some support is given by Hub Dam and
Dumlottee wells yet the amount of water supplied by these two sources is
nominal and unsustainable, in fact the city has to heavily rely upon the
Indus which is the main source of water supplies of this city bloated
with unnatural growth of population. Apart from natural growth of
population which is said to be 2-3 per cent while influx of population
from upcountry adds another 3 per cent per annum to add to the civic
problems of the city.
Water shortage has helped creating a strong mafia of
tanker operators who are minting money by supplying unhygienic sub-soil
water from the so-called water conduits built alongside the Lyari river
which in fact a drain of sewerage water of the city. The water needs of
industrial, commercial and even domestic population is met through these
tankers. Using this water for drinking purposes is highly dangerous for
health and causing water related diseases in the city.
The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has initiated a
feasibility study in collaboration with a US firm for establishing a
desalination water plant to meet its water needs including the vessels
calling on the port. The project will produce 25 million gallon water
per day which would not only meet the KPT requirement but would greatly
help in easing the water shortage in the city. With a foreign investment
worth $60 million, the plant will provide 25 million gallons of potable
water per day.
To go ahead with this project, the United States
Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) would provide a grant of $287,480
to partially fund the feasibility for the proposed 25 MGD desalination
plant in water-deficient Karachi.
An agreement to this effect was signed last week by
American Ambassador to Pakistan Ms Nancy Powel on behalf of the USTDA,
Karachi Port Trust Chairman Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat and Samiullah Khan,
the President of M/s California Environ Management (CEM) of the USA were
also present on the occasion.
The proposed project would be the biggest in
Pakistan, as a very big job in a city that was deficient in water to the
tune of 150 to 170 MGD, because of which productivity had suffered and
people were facing health hazards due to lack of safe water.
The feasibility is expected to be completed within
six months and then the company would commence work of the actual
project. It is estimated that the plant construction and production of
water would take 18-24 months to be operative.
KPT Chairman termed the project a "major
initiative" that would also result in transfer of water related
technology to Pakistan. KPT Chairman was of the view that CEM proposal
was found attractive also due to the price at which they would
distribute water to the people.
Most of Pakistan's urban water supply and sewerage
works were installed for last upgraded more than 25 years ago, and they
are operating above design capacity or have reached the end of the
serviceable system life.
This situation had led the country to face a critical
shortage of potable water in Karachi, a port city with a population of
over 14 million plus and growing at the rate of five percent a year.
As a result of limited availability of domestic
financing, the Government of Pakistan is promoting private sector
participation in the water sector by inviting proposals on
The KPT has allocated a 100 acre plot for the
construction of a 25 MGD desalination plant. California Environ
Management, a US small company project developer, has received a letter
of intent from the KPT to proceed with a project and has reamed with
Burns and McDonnell, a Missouri-based firm, to provide engineering
services and to act as overall project manager.
The USTDA funded feasibility study will assess
technical, economic and financial feasibility of the construction of the
desalination plant to supply potable water to the KPT and the Water and
Sanitation Department of the City District Government Karachi for
industrial and domestic use.
When implemented, this public-private partnership
would be the first desalination plant on this scale in Pakistan.
The plant would supply water for the entire needs of
the Karachi Port and the surplus water would be available for use of the
city. The project is first of its kind in Pakistan which will have a
direct impact on the social sector as it will provide good quality water
of WHO standard catering to the needs of more than one million people.
It would also provide relief to industry where large quantities of water
are required for processing. This step would help in arresting several
health-related problems caused by water-borne microbes and harmful
It was emphasized that the private sector needed to
take a lead from this project and do their bit to contribute towards
solving the ever-increasing water shortage in the city. Such projects
would also reduce the pressure on Indus water, which would then be
available for other customers of the province. This project will open
avenues for industry related to water technology.