‘Even the K-IV will not be able to meet Karachi’s water requirements’
KARACHI: Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra has expressed concerns over the water supplied to the city and has termed the water ‘inconsumable’.
Vohra was invited to speak at a conference, ‘Disaster on Water Stress: A Case of Karachi’, on Wednesday at the Marriot Hotel, organised by the National Forum for Environment and Health.
He was joined by senior environmentalists, officials of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and industrialists.
The deputy mayor said that most citizens cannot afford to purchase mineral water and therefore are forced to drink the contaminated water supplied to them. Vohra said it is unfortunate that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has zero responsibility regarding affairs of water supply, sewage disposal and environmental management of the city.
He said that present provincial government, instead of devolving or decentralising municipal and civic affairs of the city, had centralised important civic subjects in violation of the 18th Amendment, which had devolved a number of subjects of governance from the Centre to the provinces.
He said that the provincial government’s measures like establishing the Sindh Building Control Authority, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and wresting back control of KWSB instead of giving autonomy and powers to civic agencies had led to further deepening of municipal crises of the city.
The deputy mayor lamented the situation that a project of four combined effluent treatment plants for industrial estates of the city had been approved during regime of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, along with the release of funds, but later governments never implemented the project owing to which the problem of environmental degradation was aggravated.
He added that the K-IV project for additional supply of water was approved years ago, however, the demand of water supply has increased and now even the K-IV will not be able to meet the city’s water requirements.
Syed Hasan Ejaz Kazmi, a project director at KWSB, informed participants of the conference that at least two years were required for the requisite civil and mechanical works to build sufficient new water filtration facilities or rebuild the existing ones.
He said that filtration of potable water did not mean mere installation of chlorinators; the filtration process was done through a lot of mechanical work, which required import of machinery from abroad.
Kazmi said KWSB did not have sufficient finances to build such filtration schemes on its own, as it had to depend upon the provincial government to approve and release funds for such projects.
Environmentalist Saquib Ejaz Hussain informed the audience that just one out of seven water filtration plants of KWSB in the city was functional, which is major reason for contamination of water in the city.
He said KWSB lacked any modern scientific mechanism to check quality of drinking water being supplied to the people of Karachi.