by MALAIKA IFTIKHAR
Water problem becoming a nightmare for the citizens of Karachi. Water is very essential for a living being to alive. Karachi being the largest city of Pakistan facing a severe problem of water supply or peoples are being provided polluted water which cause harm to their health.
The water supply infrastructure in the city is aged, parts of it running for more than 40 years, and that Karachi Water & Sewerage Board which is responsible to supply clean water to the citizens of Karachi has no funds to fix the problems.
Karachi receives water from the Indus River through Keenjhar Lake and the Hub Dam.
Karachi has roughly 20 million plus residents regularly face water shortages, with working class neighbourhoods the worst hit by a failing distribution and supply system.
Areas such as Orangi, Baldia and Gadap, some of the most densely populated in the city, receive less than 40 percent of the water allotted to them, according to data collected by the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), an NGO that works on civic infrastructure and citizens’ rights in the area.
According to World Health Organisation, between 50 to 100 liters of water per person per day is required to ensure basic needs are met. In USA it is 574 per person per day, in Australia it is 493, in Brazil 183, in UK 149, In India 135 liters,
On average, residents in these areas use about 67.76 litres of water per day, according to data collected social and media organisations. That includes the water they use for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, bathing and sanitary uses.
Around 110 million gallons per day of raw, untreated water from the Indus River is mixed with treated water from the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB)’s water treatment plants, and this mixed water is supplied to the city. The KWSB claims that this water is fit for consumption. The quantity of chlorine has also been increased to ensure that all sorts of bacteria and germs are eliminated.
Water pollution is by the discharge of wastewater from commercial and industrial waste (intentionally or through spills) into surface waters; discharges of untreated domestic sewage, and chemical contaminants, such as chlorine, from treated sewage; release of waste and contaminants into surface runoff flowing to surface waters (including urban runoff and agricultural runoff, which may contain chemical fertilizers and pesticides); waste disposal and leaching into groundwater; eutrophication and littering.
Karachi has drinking water pollution and inaccessibility. There is dissatisfaction with garbage disposal in Karachi. Instead of disposing garbage at the solid waste management plant, the people have been throwing and burning it at various residential and commercial points in the city, causing immense pollution.
Drinking water supply and sanitation in Pakistan is characterized by some achievements and many challenges.
Despite high population growth the country has increased the share of the population with access to an improved water source from 37% in 1990 to 78% in 2020, although this does not necessarily mean that the water from these sources is safe to drink.
The share with access to improved sanitation increased from 27% to 48% during the same period, according to the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation. There has also been considerable innovation at the grass-root level, in particular concerning sanitation.
The Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi and community-led total sanitation in rural areas are two examples of such innovation.
Apart from other issues illegal hydrants is also major problem. More than 100 illegal hydrants are being operated in city like mafia, they are selling water on high rates and the quality of water is also questionable. This tanker and illegal hydrants mafia is making millions of dollars through this business.
In Karachi water supply is a complex issue needs heavy financial investment, dedication, awareness and interest.
The author is working at Sindh Madressatul Islam University