The only solution to the dry taps in Karachi homes — the tanker — has also run out of water. Tankers that filled potable water from various hydrants — legal and illegal — across the city, did roaring business during the past few weeks when the city’s water board failed to provide line water to most parts of the metropolis. For prices as high as Rs4,000 a tanker, residents had no option but to accept. However, the crisis that started to unfold during the Eid holidays and continues to do so, following the rains in the city, has struck even this option off the list. Hydrants have run out of water and the tankers have no other sources left to tap.
Before Eid, the Sindh government had promised a free tanker service. Not breaking character, it failed to fulfill this promise. Tankers were made available only in crisis-hit areas in districts Central and West, and were only provided on the first day of Eid. If people were hopeful that the crisis would be resolved when the government swung into action after a five-day holiday, they had something else coming (i.e., nothing). The water shortage has resulted in the usual blame game, with the water board pointing fingers towards K-Electric for power outages that result in pumping stations becoming dysfunctional. K-Electric, on the other hand, blames the water board for not maintaining its infrastructure. In addition, the city administration has failed to take action against encroachers, whose activities have led to stormwater drains being choked. With rain expected over the next few days, residents must brace for a deepening water crisis. Poor electricity supply will further hinder the water supply, clogged streets will ruin already-fragile roads and choked drains will lead to a spread of various illnesses. The reason behind this hellish chaos is the fact that there is no administration worth its name in Karachi. The post of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation administrator has changed hands four times in a single month. Given the ambivalence on part of the Sindh government, it is a wonder that the country’s financial hub has not collapsed entirely.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2015.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.