KARACHI (Dec 19): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the water shortage in the city is not so acute as is being propagated, but the actual problem is 70 to 80 years old distribution network.
He issues these directives while presiding over a high-power follow up meeting for provision of safe drinking water in the province here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Manzoor Wassan, Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Jam Khan Shoro, Fayaz Butt, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Advocate General Zamir Ghumro, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, World Bank representatives, secretaries of health, industries, PHEE, energy, chief engineers of different departments, divisional commissioners, and others.
The chief minister said that the water shortage in the city is not so acute as being propagated by water board. The bureaucracy of water board and the local government has been misguiding the politicians since last many years and the politicians are believing in their miscalculations. “I am a professional engineer, you cannot misguide me, he told the water board and said that the actual problem is inefficient distribution system which the water board has been concealing under the wrap of water shortage. He added “the actual problem is rusted, defective, old and contaminated distribution network. On this, Minister Local Government Jam Khan Shoro said that there is 1200 km long water supply network in the city. Its replacement would cost around Rs200 billion.
The chief Minister said that according to new census, the population of the city is 16 million. As per water board standard the water requirement is 50G per person per day (50g/capita/day. If 16 million population is multiplied with 50g/capita/day, the water requirement of the city would come to 800 MGD, he worked out and went on saying at present Karachi receives 650 MGD, including 550 MGD from Kinjhar and 100 MGD from Hub. By the end of 2018 K-IV would be providing 260 MGD plus 65 MGD from another small scheme. It would be 325 MGD. If the present available 650 MGD and 325 MGD of K-IV and another small scheme are combined together the available water in the city would be 975 MGD against the requirement of 800 MGD. This water would be enough for another three to four years, he said.
Talking up the water distribution system in the city, the chief minister said that it is 80 to 100 years old network. It has completed its logical age and now not only the old lines are contaminating the water but wasting it through seepage. He directed the local government minister to prepare a plan to replace the old distribution system. “I would suggest you to collect area-wise data of the water supply lines laid there and then start replacing the oldest one in the first phase and then go on moving them in phases,” he said and added that there are the old areas where water distribution pipelines were laid about 60 to 70 year ago and some are said to be around 100 years old. He went on saying, he was ready to provide funds whatever the project would cost.
Minister Local Government Jam Khan Shoro said that HESCO has demanded water board to pay Rs6 billion for supply of 50 MW electricity to the pumping stations of K-IV project at Kinjhar Lake. On this, the chief minister Murad Ali Shah intervened and said when water board is going to pay Rs6 billion for 50 MW power and transmission line why it is not going to install its own LNG-based or wind power plant of 50 MW. The funds are available for K-IV. “I would suggest you to install your personal power plant of 50 MW and pump Rs2 billion equity, and a private party and the government would become their partners for construction of power plant and transmission line for water board, he said and went on saying it would be installed within one year.
The chief minister gave the task to secretary energy Agha Wasif to work out the plan, sit together with local government minister and MD water and start survey for the 50 MW power plant.
The meeting was told that there were three kinds of wastewater, they are Municipal, hospital and industrial and they are released into Lyari and Malir rivers. There is a plan to install a 94 MGD wastewater treatment plant.
The chief minister was briefed on Public Health Engineering department water supply schemes worth Rs162.9 billion. The Minister PHE department Mr Fayaz Butt told the meeting that in 22 districts 3896 schemes, including 1671 on-going and 2225 new are in progress.
The chief minister directed PHE department secretary Tamizuddin Khero to work out detailed plan for construction of drainage system for major villages of 22 districts where their water supply schemes are in progress. “The drainage system may be designed as per population figures given in the new census,” he said.
The chief minister also issued directives to the divisional commissioners to provide him water testing reports of their respective areas. “I want you [divisional commissioners]to take necessary measures to dispose of municipal water into drains instead of flowing them into river and other water bodies,” he said and added this discipline must be maintained till the installation of treatment plants in every district headquarters in the first phase and in the taluka headquarters in the second phase.
The chief minister also directed the divisional commissioners to plan water supply schemes from River Indus for the cities which are located on or along the embankment.
The chief minister said that he would hold third meeting on December 28 to review the progress further.