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KWSB freezes connections for new housing projects

KARACHI, March 13: In view of a shortfall of 200 million gallons of water per day and the refusal of the Indus River System Authority’s (Irsa) to increase the water quota for Sindh to implement the K-IV project, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board has imposed a moratorium on new water connections for all the new housing schemes of the Malir Development Authority, Lyari Development Authority, Defence Housing Authority’s Phase 9, the Textile City and the Education City, it emerged on Sunday.

Sources said that the KWSB has also imposed a ban on supplying additional water to the Karachi Port Trust and the Port Qasim Authority till the city gets an additional water supply from the Indus source for its Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme, commonly known as K-IV project, which has to be implemented in three different phases.

They said that the water utility recently took this decision and communicated it to all the stakeholders. However, it decided to meet the additional water supply requirement of all the five industrial zones in the city — SITE, Landhi, Korangi, North Karachi and Federal B’ Area.

The sources said that the water utility also decided to extend full cooperation to the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and the Association of Builders and Developers in granting new connections for mega and high-rise housing projects provided both the organisations must make it mandatory for builders to obtain a no-objection certificate from the water utility prior to seeking approval of their building plans. Besides, the betterment tax being charged by the SBCA from builders is passed on to the KWSB for strengthening the city’s potable water and sewerage system, the sources added.

KWSB Managing Director Misbauhuddin Farid told Dawn that in view of the refusal of Irsa to increase the water quota for Sindh, the provincial government would be requested to give the quantity of water required for the project from its own quota, which would be equivalent to just 0.25 per cent of its total water quota.

Moreover, the government would also be convinced that since the entire quantity of 1,200 cusecs required for the K-IV Project would be fetched in piecemeal, as the project would be accomplished in three different phases, each bringing 240mgd of water to the city after every four years.

In the first stage the capacity will be expanded by 250mgd for its target year of 2015 though the increased capacity will meet only the demand of 2010 and 2011, he said.

Other measures being taken by the KWSB to ensure equal distribution of drinking water include a ban on new water connections for the new housing schemes being developed by the MDA, LDA and DHA all along the link road of Superhighway and National Highways as well as to the Education City and the Textile City, he said.

He added that the stakeholders were told that the city was getting 720mgd (645mgd from the Indus and 75mgd from Hub dam) as against its current demand of about 920mgd and, as such, the water utility whose priority is to meet the drinking water requirement of people of Karachi as well as those living in different union councils of Thatta, Gharo, Pipri and their adjoining areas was already facing immense difficulties in ensuring equal distribution of drinking water.

Under such circumstances when the demand-supply gap was constantly increasing it was not possible for the KWSB to sanction new water connections for the new housing schemes, he said, adding that presently it was not possible to accede to the request of providing additional water supply to the KPT, the Port Qasim Authority.

He said that the utility was also unable to provide water connections to the projects of the Education City and the Textile City.

In separate letters sent to the heads of the MDA and the LDA, the KWSB also expressed its inability to provide new connections for their housing schemes, he added.It may be pointed out that that though the city was, at present, getting 720mgd of water from both the Indus and Hub dam sources, the water supply capacity is just 540mgd owing to either depleting or non-existence of its water distribution system in some areas of the metropolis whereas if the water needs of the city is calculated in terms of its over 18 million population it comes to 734mgd thus leaving a gap of 194mgd, which is equivalent to about 10.8 gallon per capita per day (gcpd), 4.4gpcd for domestic consumers excluding water losses of more than 35 per cent.

It is for this reason that senior KWSB officials, particularly those assigned with the task of water distribution system, apprehend that if immediate measures were not taken to augment the city’s water supply it might witness water riots in the next summer if not in the ensuing summer season as the supply from the Hub source is solely depend on rains.

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