Water shortage: KWSB holds residents responsible for crisis

Installing lines of unapproved diameter and suction pumps is illegal: KWSB.

Express June 13, 2011


The Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KWSB) holds Karachi’s residents responsible for any water shortage — an issue the board believes does not even exist.

For KWSB bulk distribution chief engineer Iftikhar Ahmed, there is no shortage of water in the city. Even if there are problems in certain areas, he said, the consumers are responsible for them.

The residents of North Karachi sectors 11-A and 11-B told The Express Tribune that water fails to reach their homes despite repeated complaints. People living in apartments suffer the most from distribution flaws. Some houses receive enough water every day while others in the same neighbourhood are forced to buy water from the tanker service.

Ahmed pointed out several reasons why a crisis may have developed. The use of heavy suction pumps by people living close to a sub-pumping station distorts the distribution, he said. Those at the tail end of the distribution line end up having no water.

“A majority of the consumers — nearly 95 per cent — have installed a suction pump in their house to fetch water from the lines,” said Ahmed. This is illegal and the water board should devise a strategy to remove them, he added.

Some residents have also installed wide water lines - with a diameter of almost 4 inches - when only half an inch is allowed, he said.

Ahmed said that the issue of contaminated water supply could only be resolved if the water lines at the consumers’ end, with unapproved gauges, are removed and the use of suction pumps is banned in the city. He explained that suction pumps create a vacuum and also suck in other sediments.

The water being pumped into the city’s reservoirs from Dhabeji or Pipri pumping stations is adequate and there is no cut in the amount of water supplied, he said. The water crisis may be because of the fact that people use 30 per cent more water during summer and six per cent of it is stolen, he added.

Ahmed admitted that the KWSB officials, most probably valve men, might be involved in establishing illegal hydrants but since they do not leave behind any traces, the KWSB is unable to take any disciplinary action against them. There are around 40 illegal water hydrants working in the city and they are stealing around six million gallons every day.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.


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