KARACHI: “Water theft through different means has become an organized business in the city, causing a loss of 35 percent of water,” said Chairman Department of Architecture and Planning NED University Dr Noman Ahmed on Tuesday.
Water tankers, which initially started operation as emergency service, have become substantially big mafia presently, which charge their desired amount from consumers, he said while addressing a seminar on Water Shortage Crisis in Karachi: Causes and Consequences, organized by an NGO, Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment, at a local hotel.
He said Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) owed Rs57 billion to international donors. “Eighty percent of the people being provided water do not payback to KWSB.”
“Legislation and rationalization are required to decide whether the water board should be run as an enterprise or basic utility provider. A regulatory body is needed to assess and resolve water issues,” he said.
He said that 40 percent deaths in urban areas occur due to consumption of contaminated water as only 47 percent population there had access to potable water, while in urban areas, 85 percent people could consume clean water.
General Secretary All Karachi Water Tanker Ittehad Muhammed Sharif clarified the existence of 5200 tankers by saying that there were so many areas in the city where water lines were even not laid, therefore hydrants were being run in the city.
He said the system of 22 legal hydrants was best run by rangers which was generating good amount for water board, while now it was handed over to rooky contractors.
A human right defender, Lala Hassan said corruption and political postings in water board were the main problems, otherwise there was no issue of scarcity in the city.
A senior member of Shehri, Amra Javed, said since over 30 years, no new dam could be built in the country. It seemed as if KWSB had abrogated its responsibilities as no fixed price was being charged over water due to lack of check and balance. It should fix its price and then make it public through media.
“Leaking pipes and tankers are causing destruction to roads along wasting water,” she said.
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