10,000 die annually in Karachi due to contaminated water


Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) survey report published on Friday said that in Karachi more than 10,000 people die every year because of renal infection caused by contaminated water.
PCRWR conducted Technical Assessment Survey of water supply schemes in domains of 22 districts of Sindh, which summed up that the performance of these schemes in terms of providing water in an adequate quantity and of safe quality, is extremely poor.
The outcome of the survey has revealed that water supply schemes are providing piped water supply for drinking purposes to meet household needs and for other multiple uses to an enumerated population of 11.716 million persons on 1247 surveyed water schemes.
Now fact is that 58 percent of the schemes are not functioning properly and as a result, nearly 47 percent of the total population remains unserved by the water supply schemes.
More alarming situation is that 98 percent of the functional schemes are providing unsafe drinking water. Moreover, on province basis, the average water charges per scheme, figure out to Rs 2 per month.
Talking to APP, Chairman PCRWR Dr Aslam Tahir said lack of proper management, operation and maintenance of the water systems is one of the critical issues of the water supply schemes. On the overall, 75 percent of the total 718 non-functional schemes have been found as temporarily closed.
The chairman said the identified reasons for the temporarily closure of schemes are financial problems, breakage of some important components of the water delivery and distribution system or non-functioning of pump, motor or transformer.
The survey result have shown that 95 percent water sources of the functional schemes, are unfit for drinking purposes and microbiological contamination has been found in all unsafe water samples from functional schemes.
According to the survey, 9 percent of the schemes are over 20 years old, 16 percent of the schemes are 20-25 years old, 28 percent schemes are between 15-20 years old, whereas 47 percent schemes are 10-15 years old.
The Chairman said most of the schemes have used G1 pipe for the distribution system, the useful life of which is less than 20 years.
It necessitates a program of rehabilitation coupled with redesigning of water supply schemes in the district and the priority should be given to the older schemes. These remedial works should be based on the estimation of present and future water requirement for the increasing population, he said.
Construction continues with full pace at M-4, M-8: Construction work is continuing with full pace at new sections of Motorway (M-4, M-8) aimed at ensuring safe and secure traveling for motorists.
The other objective of constructing different sections of Motorway is to link Pakistan’s three Arabian Sea ports (Karachi Port, Port Bin Qasim and Gwadar Port) to the rest of the country and further north with Afghanistan, Central Asia and China.
A senior official at Ministry of Communications while giving details of project on Friday said M-4 is from Faisalabad to Multan. Around 15 percent construction work from Faisalabad to Gojra (58 km) has been completed and expected to be achieved by 2013. Moreover, he said one percent work is completed from Khanewal to Multan (57 km) on M-4 and would be completed by 2015.
The official said other section is M-8 which starts from Gwadar – Turbat – Hoshab – Khuzdar – Ratodero. The distance from Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab is 193 km as 68 percent work has been completed and total would be achieved by next year. He said the distance between Khori to Quba Saeed Khan is 143 km as 73 per cent work on this side has been completed and total would be achieved by 2013.
About quality of work, he said national highways and motorways are constructed as per standard specifications which contain detailed methodology for all highway components, elaborately defined in each contract agreement, awarded after a pre-qualification process as per standard procedure and guidelines of Pakistan Engineering Council.
The official said construction quality is monitored as per approved specifications through experienced Supervision Consultants employed for each project on full time basis while acceptance of work done is subject to various tests and standards conforming to international codes.
He said completion certificate is issued by an independent “The Engineer” after satisfaction regarding quality of construction. Additionally, he said, the contractor remains responsible for maintenance services and remedying any defects observed during the guarantee (defect liability) period which varies from 1 to 3 years depending upon the size, nature and importance of the project under relevant provision of the contract agreement.