This is the high time that policy makers should accept that water management is now required
By AZAM ALI
July 26 - Aug 01, 2004
Water management on modern lines has become a pre-requisite not only to get optimum benefits with the available resources for a sustainable growth both in agriculture as well as the industrial growth in the country.
Better water management to plug the waste, leakages and economise the resources is required to handle the issue of water scarcity if we are really serious to attract more investment in all sectors either local or foreign.
This is the high time that policy makers should accept that water management is now required on war footing for accelerated industrialization in the country.
Industrialists and opinion leaders feel that local and foreign investment at the desired level would remain a dream in the prevailing situation where more than 50% of water either stolen or drains out due to overage pipelines which have already been crossed the age limit of 30 to 40 years in Karachi.
Zubair Motiwala, former Chairman of SITE Association and a leading industrialist said that "there is no shortage of water but water is stolen and sold to the citizens by the water tanker mafia" he said Karachi is receiving half gallon per head water daily, which is an international standard but where that water goes? He said that until and unless a water management board with private sector industrialists and experts is constituted water crisis would deepen day by day. He said that government has plans of K-3 and K-4 but not a single person from the private sector was consulted. Giving details of industrial, commercial and residential growth he said that water demand would go many time high till these projects are completed. Motiwala said that 80% water is sold to industrial, commercial and residential consumers. Water has become a roaring business in Karachi.
Motiwala said that it seems really mysterious when water management of this Mega City is nowhere in the government's priorities. "How can industries run specially textile industry? And what about more industries which we are inviting here, without water?" he said we have the water in Karachi and all sectors are forced to buy it. Water, even if someone starts construction in anywhere in Karachi he has to keep water amount into whole construction budget. He said there are many areas where one has to spare a sum of amount for water every month, as he keeps the amount for other utilities like gas and power.
Many residents from DHA and other parts of the city are buying water from tankers for years and simultaneously also paying water tax to the government.
He said that a board should be constituted taking experts and representatives from all fields of the Karachi, as there is an immediate need of water management plans for next 50 years for which execution should be started without waste of single day. He said we are already late but still something could be done now. He said that would be ridiculous to expect that any foreign investors would bring water from their country.
A KWSB senior officer, however, accepted that 30% water out of total water is either stolen or wasted in Karachi but that has various reasons behind. 80 to 85% water pipelines of different diameter have already completed their physical age and now they immediately need to be replaced so that huge water waste could be controlled. Second reason is the illegal water connection all over the city which has been taken through sub-standard methods. In some cases water pipelines have been broken during course of new connections.
WATER TANKERS MAFIA
There are only six legal and 50 illegal hydrants operating all over Karachi, insiders of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) told PAGE. Actually, water is sold through 10,000 trips of the water tankers with the capacity ranging from 1,200 to 25,000 gallons. The water tankers have virtually crippled the whole water supply system of Karachi. Over a period of time, the tanker mafia has grown so strong that it has become a hard nut to crack and to weed out the lucrative tanker business from Karachi. Politically and administratively strong and influential people are on the back of this business, as water business generates millions of rupees. In the KWSB files, there are about 4,000 points in the city where constant leakage causing millions of gallon of water. KWSB officials said that they could not guard the water pipeline system in all over Karachi and every day 10 to 25 illegal connections were taken.
One of the major project titled as K-3 which is scheduled to be completed next year would be useless and will not be meeting the actual requirement of Karachi especially Industrial Zones as both the industrial, commercial and residential growth would be increased. One of the reason for this unfortunate circumstances is that K-3 was supposed to be completed in April 2002. The completion of K-3 might be delayed further as funds problems have already started between City District Government Karachi and the Federal Government.
There is another project under title of K-4 which is to begin after 2006 and planned to be completed before 2025, however this project too will not be able to meet the requirement as industrial, commercial and domestic growth would have been surged many time high till 2025.