SUKKUR: No water has been supplied to the residents of Jacobabad for the last one week due to acute shortage in the Kirthar canal, as claimed by the administration.
Kirthar Canal, which is an offshoot of Sukkur Barrage, is the only source of sweet water for Jacobabad, said North Sindh Urban Services Corporation incharge for Jacobabad, Babar Sarki. He explained the water shortage exists due to an acute shortage in this canal.
The water supply to all off-taking canals of the Sukkur Barrage was suspended between January 6 and February 2, said Sukkur Barrage control room incharge Abdul Aziz Soomro. Normally the annual barrage closure lasts 15 days but the process was delayed this year. The desilting of the barrage lasted until February, he said.
According to him, 4,100 cusecs are allocated for Kirthar Canal and 4,050 cusecs of water is being released. The mere shortage of 50 cusecs is not considered a shortage, he claimed. Meanwhile, Jacobabad deputy commissioner Agha Shah Nawaz was unavailable for comments.
Until the shortage lasts, residents are compelled to purchase water from donkey cart owners, who fetch underground water from several hand pumps installed in the outskirts of the city. The price of underground water has also shot up. A 10-litre can of water that used to cost Rs10 is now being sold anywhere between Rs15 to Rs20.
What makes matters worse is the fact that not all underground water is fit for human consumption which has led to a rise in water-borne diseases, including upset stomach and rashes. The last water scheme was announced in the city in 2007 when the then Sindh governor, Muhammad Mian Soomro, promised Rs1.5 billion for a new water supply project. This scheme has yet to take concrete shape. A USAID project for the supply of potable water is currently underway and pipelines are being laid. However, residents complained that the pace of work is very slow.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2017.