Water remains short in supply

City receives 75 per cent less than it should, without considering line losses

Our Correspondent July 20, 2015
City receives 75 per cent less than it should, without considering line losses. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: After braving through major power breakdowns during Ramazan, Karachi suffered another problem of acute water shortage during Eid holidays.

The city that needs nearly one billion gallons of water every day hardly receives half of the required amount. The shortage that occurred on the last day of Eid was calculated at around 130 million gallons per day (MGD), which was 75 per cent less than its usual supply, without factoring in heavy line losses.

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has once again held Karachi Electric (KE) responsible for the water shortage, stating that power breakdowns at important installations and pumping stations continued during all three days of Eid.

A major breakdown was reported from Dhabeji pumping station, which provides the largest share of water to the city. "The power went out at around 6:10am resulting in closure of 16 pumps installed there," said a statement issued by the KWSB. "Seven of the pumps were started partially while nine remained shut."

The KWSB claimed that for the consecutive five-hour long power outage, the nine closed pumps failed to push 13MGD to the city every hour. "Thus a loss of 115MGD was reported from Dhabeji alone," read the statement, adding that the reason for the power breakdown was a technical fault in the KE transformer and it has yet to be resolved.

Similarly, NEK Pumping House, Old Pump House and Gharo Pumping House faced the same problem and additional losses of 15MGD occurred. The KWSB lamented that the power utility failed to prove its claim of providing uninterrupted electricity during the holidays.

Meanwhile, KE rejected the water utility’s claim. "KWSB itself is a defaulter of Rs38 billions in bills," KE spokesperson Osama Qureshi told The Express Tribune. "The infrastructure it has at pumping stations has become obsolete."

Instead of upgrading their system, the KWSB officials just blame us, said Qureshi, suggesting that the water utility should have some power backup. "They are holding us responsible for the water crisis now. No wonder, some day we will be blamed for the worsening sanitation system and even for street crimes."

For the interruption in water supply, the hydrants in Nipa, Sakhi Hasan, Shah Faisal and Safoora also remained shut, the KWSB statement added due to which the special free water tanker service was affected adversely.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2015.