KARACHI – Having weighed the various suggestions, the Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee for Local Government, on Wednesday, recommended the provincial government to ensure the availability of 1200 cusecs of water (to the KW&SB) under the K-IV project to fulfil the growing water needs of the citizens.
As a long term solution to the crisis, the committee – under its chairman Haji Munawar Abbasi – asked the Sindh government to ensure the availability of 1200 cusecs of water to the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board under the K-IV project up to the year 2025.
Nevertheless, the Irrigation Department assured that the needful would be done, but it attached with it a condition that the infrastructure be improved to carry water to Keenjhar Lake – the only source of Indus water for Karachi.
The Sindh Assembly had, to overcome the water shortage in the city, adopted a resolution seeking steps by the government. The speaker had asked the Standing Committee on Local Government to deliberate over the ways and means to overcome the shortage of water.
The committee, in its second meeting, discussed the steps and got the input of the Irrigation Department to ensure water allocation from Indus River to Keenjhar Lake.
According to Munawar Abbasi, the meeting recommended the provincial government to ensure availability of 260 MGD (million gallons daily) water for the first phase of the K-IV project, which is expected to be completed within the next four years. After the meeting, Abbasi told TheNation that although Irrigation Department officials attached the conditions of the development of infrastructure and availability of water in Indus, the committee emphasised on the provincial government to ensure availability of 1200 cusecs water in phases for the project up to the year 2025.
It emphasised on the Irrigation Department to give NoC (no objection certification) for water allocation of 1200 cusecs for the K-4 scheme, so that the project could be put before the ECNEC for approval and execution in the upcoming federal budget.
The ECNEC had recently rejected the K-4 project owing to non-availability of NoC.
Abbasi said that his committee also emphasised on the KW&SB to plug the leakages and lines losses by replacing the rusted and old water pipelines.
Irrigation Secretary Babar Hassan Effindi declined to give the NoC without the conditions, saying that development of the irrigation infrastructure and enhancing the capacity of KP Feeder required for carrying additional water to Keenjhar Lake for the K-4 project. Besides, releasing water for Karachi depended on the availability of water in Indus River, below Kotri Barrage, he added.
MQM’s lawmakers Khalid Ahmed Rehan Zafar and others said the provision of drinking water must be given priority over other purposes.
Babar Effindi said that despite the shortage of water in Kotri Barrage, the department did not stop water to Keenjhar Lake.
Meanwhile, the standing committee also shared its draft recommendations with the meeting which entailed details of the water consumption and needs as well as what could be done for the future requirements of water in Karachi.
The body, in its draft recommendations, stated that the population of Karachi was increasing vertically and horizontally due to industrialisation and economic activities, while a number of housing schemes were being developed and would have a specific water demand that could not be met with the existing supply by the KW&SB.
According to the draft report, the total water demand of Karachi is about 1,000 MGD against the available 690 MGD.
For the immediate solutions, the PA body recommended the government to formulate an action plan of equitable distribution of drinking water, keeping in view the available quantity of bulk water.
The committee recommended the government to hold meeting with the Sindh Building Control Authority and resolve to accommodate in building rules/by-laws for specified certain period for replacement of old rusted services pile lines of houses and repair of leaking fixtures and old under individual ground tanks of households, saving at least 40pc losses of drinking water supplied to them.
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