Cropping up as a stark reminder of the civic agencies' blatant disregard towards vulnerabilities of the consumers, Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) created an acute water shortage for a large segment of Hyderabad's population by Sunday. The situation, which stemmed from rupture in main pipelines of 18 inch diameter a week ago in Qasimabad, persisted through Monday evening.
Another pipeline of the same size in Qasimabad went burst some days ago, further compounding the problem.
The pressure of the water supply for almost all of Qasimabad was lowered a week ago, and on Saturday the supply was halted altogether.
WASA, however, did not bother to inform the public. Neither a press release nor any public notice in the media warned citizens that they should be prepared to deal with a prolonged water supply suspension of two to three days.
The local authorities also apparently woke up late to the problem.
Over a week ago a pipeline passing under 15 emergency police's check post, adjacent to Ali Palace banquet, developed ruptures.
"We initially tried to manually plug the leakage but we later employed the excavator [to dig the land]," WASA Managing Director Muzaffar Memon told The Express Tribune.
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According to him, the check post has been built over an encroached piece of land on a wide green belt on Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Road.
The other pipeline, which was repaired by Monday afternoon, is located under Hyderabad Bypass near Naqash villas. But water supply will be restored after plugging the breach in the pipeline passing under the check post, the officials maintained.
According to them, if they released water in the repaired pipeline they would not be able to fix the other rupture because the two pipelines are interconnected.
By 5pm the WASA authorities appeared undecided about the fate of the check post. "We are trying to fix the pipeline under the green belt. But if the problem doesn't end there, we will go ahead with demolishing the check post," WASA Additional MD Saleemuddin Arain told The Express Tribune.
Both the officials confirmed that they stopped water supply to Qasimabad on Saturday to fix the burst pipelines. But the consumers of WASA were not informed about the suspension.
Nadeem Yousuf, the spokesperson of Hyderabad Development Authority, which is the agency's parent organisation, also acknowledged that they did not intimate the citizens about the issue so that they could use water sparingly.
"Yes we should have conveyed to the consumers but we kept thinking [from the first day] that we would be able to fix it in a few hours," said Arain. Later in the evening the MD claimed while talking to the media that they have traced the fault at some distance from the check post and that they supply will begin to restore after a few hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2021.
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