KARACHI     -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah keeping in view water crisis in the city convened a meeting of all stakeholders, including political, and non-political and with their collective wisdom explored short and long-term solutions.

He also removed misconceptions of the stakeholders about K-IV project and resolved to complete it.

The meeting decided to control 30 percent water losses which come to 174 MGD and control water theft through administrative measures. By the end of October another 100 MGD and 65 MGD water would be added in the system and by the time efforts would be made to complete K-IV project which has become a difficult task.  

The multi-party and stakeholders conference was held here at the 7thfloor of New Sindh Secretariat which was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani, Advisor to CM on Information Murtaza Wahab, Special Assistants to CM Waqar Mehdi and Rashid Rabbani, Waseem Akhtar, Secretary Local govt Khalid Hyder Shah, MD Water Board Asadullah Khan, PD K-IV Asad Zamin and others. 

The delegates who attended the meeting include Leader of the Opposition  in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamin Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh and Junaid Shah of PTI, Khwaja Izhar, Mohammad Hussain (MQM), Shahi Syed, Younis Buneri (ANP) Sarwat Eijaz Qadri (ST), Mustaf Kamal, Arshad Vohra, Asif Hasnain, Hafeezuddin (PSP), Qari Usman and Molana of Abdul Karim (JUI-F), Malik Ayoub and Imran Gujjar (PPI) Bishrat Mirza (PDP) Saifuddin and Junaid Muati (JI) Kamran Akhtar represented Dr Farooq Sattar, Ahmed Shah of Karachi Arts Council, Hassan Bux of ABAD, Zubair Motiwala and Javed Bilwani of KCCI, Ikhtiar Baig of FPCCI and Imtiaz Faran of Karachi Press Club.

The chief minister said that there was serious issue of water in the city. “In our system hardly 480 MGD water is available against a requirement of 1000 MGD,” he said and added it was something like a half glass of water for some people. “If we distribute it equitably everyone would be able to get a sip of water and if it is distributed inequitably then some people would be extinguish their thirst and others would die thirsty,” this is the case in the city “either we have to share the shortage or do favour to some people.

He said that in order to find out a solution he had invited multi-party conference in which political and non-political stakeholders were participating. “Our presence here shows that we all have pain in our hearts for the people of Karachi who are facing water shortage,” he said added “I want you [all participants] to discuss the matter with open heart and mind and then find out a solution so that we work together to resolve it.

KWSB: On the directive of the chief minister, MD water Board Asadullah Khan briefed the participants about the present position of the water.

The official population of the city is 17 million and daily requirement of water at the rate of 45 gallon per person per day comes to 918 MGD. Presently, total supply of water to city is 580 MGD which include 480 MGD water comes from Dhanbeji and Gharo, and 100 MGD from. The water losses recorded in the city are 30 percent means 174 MGD, thus the net supply of water to the city comes 406 MGD which is 44 percent of the demand and shows a shortfall of 512 MGD or 56 percent of the demand.

K-IV

PD K-IV project Asad Zamin briefed the meeting about K-IV project, its issues and solutions.

Feasibility study of K-IV project was carried out in 2007 at a cost of Rs25.5 billion. In the study nine routes of the project were worked out, of them the eights one via Dhabeji was selected based on being technically most feasible and most economical route.

The PC-I for K-IV project (phase-I) for 130 MGD was prepared in 2007 and subsequently decided to carry out K-IV project in three phase, phase-I of 260 MGD, II of 260 and phase-III of 130 MGD. In CDWP PC-I was rationalised and cost of land acquisition of Rs5 billion was excluded from the project. The project was approved the basis of 50:50 sharing between Sindh and the federal governments in 2014 at Rs25.2 billion which was originally cost  conceived in 2007.

The chief minister said that the FWO has given a proposal for construction of 650 MGD conveyance system as a one-time activity instead of constructing three different canals. He added that the other issues were installation of 50 MW power plant required for pumping stations, construction of colonies for the staff, carrying out electrical and mechanical works and launching of augmentation project. All these components would require huge funds. Therefore, he has started talking with World Bank.

INPUT OF STAKEHOLDERS

Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that the water board would have to reduce its water losses which were huge where 174 MGD water was wasting every day. He suggested improving transparency and governance in the water board. He also suggested the government to start recycling the already used water and provide it to the industrialists and other institutions where required.

Khwaja Izhar said that the solution of the present crisis lied in stopping water theft. He suggested registration of FIRs against water theft.

Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar said that even if K-IV project was completed the water board would not be able to provide water to the citizens because the water distribution system was very defective and obsolete. He suggested re-construction of new infrastructure of water distribution system. He also urged KWSB to rationalise its staff and the old staff members who have failed to deliver must be ward off.

Javed Bilwani and Zubair Motiwala of KCCI said that Karachi was the only city in the world where water was not billed. They said that people did not pay their water bills, therefore slabs for use of water may be worked out so that financial position f the water board could be improved. They complained that the lines which were dedicated for industries have been diverted to other purposes.

Zubair Motiwala said that the industrial areas of the city had the requirement of 174 MGD and it could be met by recycling the gutter water which was now flowing into the sea. He said that Industrial area of Karachi were giving water bills in advance, even then the industrialists were accused of stealing water.

Mohammad Hussain of MQM said that Karachi had been paying billion of rupees to FBR and SRB in taxes even then the  city was being ignored. He emphasized ion the need of improving distribution system.

Shahi Syed said that this city of Karachi had already witnessed pools of blood and now when things have come to normalcy a politics on water has been started. He urged the water board to control its water lossed so that another 170 MGD or less than it could be included in the system.

Mustaqeem Noorani suggested starting charging water from those who can afford but the poor who have the capacity of purchasing small containers must pay at least Rs20 per small containers. This is the unique concept of improving water board without improving the revenue or generating water bills.

Mohsin Sheikhani suggested to outsourcing of water billing and recoveries. You have to make your institution [KWSB] financially viable organization, otherwise this shortage would always be an issue.

Mustafa Kamal, former Mayor and PSP leader said that in the entire 130 km strip of K-IV the most expensive work is of pumping water. He added that out of 130 km strip water would flow in gravity within 80 kms and then while for the remaining area a pumping was required. He said that out of 660 MGD water only five MGD water was the requirement of Bahria but a hue and cry has been made in such a way as if the entire project has been diverted there.

The others who spoke on the occasion include Ahmed Shah of Arts Council, Hassan Bux of ABAD, Dr Ikhtiar Baig of FPCCI, Imtiaz Faran of Karachi Press Club and various others.

CONCLUSION

Concluding the meeting the chief minister announced formation of a committee of all stakeholders comprising one representatives each group to control water leakages/losses, theft, improve distribution system in short term. The committee would be notified by the local government.

In the long terms, the chief minister said that  50 MGD recycling plant was being negotiated to install for provision of water to industries, installation of five MGD desalination plant was under process to provide  water to DHA, working for installation of a larger desalination plant at Hub was being negotiated. He said that the 65 MGD water schemes from halejo Lake as pointed out by Mohammad Hussain would be completed in October.

He also said that he was negotiating with the Hubco for procuring 1300 MW power plant which would be dedicated purely for Karachi.

It would resolve energy shortage of the city. As far as water is concerned, Mr Shah said that he also working with HUBCO to install a desalination plant of 1200 MGD for Karachi.

He said that he would talk to the prime minister during his visit to the city on July 12 about K-IV and desalination projects from Hub. If Hub power plant was dedicated fort Karachi, there would be no need to establish separate transmission lines.

INSTRUCTION TO KWSB

The chief minister directed KWSB to flush its water reservoirs, improve billing and recoveries system, make appropriate and equitable water distribution plan, start water conservancy, install recycling water plant in short term.

In long terms, he asked KWSB to evolve a separate sewerage department within its domain, and prepare a plan for reconstruction of its distribution system and also include the areas where its network has not been laid.   

The chief minister said that he would again invite the participants of the meeting next month when Nespak would submit its report. “I would take all of you into confidence and seek your input to complete K-IV project,” he said.