The Greater Karachi Sewerage Plan (S-III), which was envisaged by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to improve the environmental conditions of the city through an integrated system of sewage collection, treatment, and disposal, is undergoing several changes.
The project, which was launched in 2013 with funding from the federal and the provincial governments, will now receive funding from the World Bank too.
That apart, some new components have been added to the project through a public-private partnership.
But despite the improvements, the project has been hit with further delays.
The Supreme Court earlier ordered the completion of the S-III project by December 2020. However, poor planning and late disbursement of funds slowed things down and now, the completion of the project is expected to take another five years.
Sources say that new stakeholders have also been included to the development package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The installation of a transmission line, Treatment Plant One (TP1) and Treatment Plant Three (TP3), will be carried out in Lyari Basin during Phase-III of the project with funding from the federal and Sindh governments. As for the installation of a transmission line and treatment plants in Malir Basin during Phase-II of the project, the funding will come from the World Bank.
Following the completion of S-III, the treated sewage water from TP1 and TP4 will be made usable for industrial use under a public-private partnership.
A KWSB official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that although the revised PC-1 of S-III had been approved by the Centre with funding of Rs36.2 billion two years ago, the funds could not be furnished by the federal and provincial governments due to financial crisis.
It should be noted that the World Bank has been working on the Karachi Water Sewerage and Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP) for the last year. This project aims to improve Karachi’s water and sewerage system, the Water Board’s human resources, as well as the tax recovery system.
The World Bank will install a transmission line on the Malir River and a treatment plant at Korangi. The treatment plant will treat 180 million gallons daily (MGD) of sewage water. In this regard, a feasibility study of the Malir Basin and TP4 will be completed in about 18 months. After that, the construction work will start which will take three years to complete against a cost of Rs20 billion.
It should be noted that the S-III project has been delayed for the last 12 years, after three KSWB treatment plants stopped working in 2008. Since then, about 460 MGD of sewage water is currently being dumped into the sea without treatment, causing irreparable damage to marine life.
Earlier, the project’s cost was estimated at Rs7.9 billion, but it was later upgraded to Rs36.2 billion.
Although the federal government approved the revised cost in 2018, there is no regular funding. Some of the funds allocated last year have not been released either, while the provincial government has only allocated Rs50 million for the project in the current budget.
While The Express Tribune tried to contact S-III project director Hanif Baloch for a comment regarding ongoing work on the project several times, he did not receive the call.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2020.