NED University of Engineering and Technology Department of Architecture and Planning Chairman Dr Noman Ahmed said that 40 percent deaths in urban areas occur due to consumption of contaminated water.
Water theft through different means has become an organised business in the city, causing a loss of 35 percent of water,” he added.
Water tankers, which initially started operation as emergency service, have become a big mafia, which charge their desired amount from consumers, he said while addressing a seminar on Water Shortage Crisis in Karachi: Causes and Consequences, organized by NGO Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment.
He said Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) owed Rs57 billion to international donors. “80 pc of the people being provided water do not pay KWSB back.”
“Legislation and rationalisation are required to decide whether the water board should be run as an enterprise or basic utility provider. A regulatory body is needed to assess and resolve water issues,” he said.
All Karachi Water Tanker General Secretary Ittehad Muhammed Sharif clarified the existence of 5,200 tankers by saying that there were so many areas in the city without water lines, therefore hydrants were being run in the city.
He said the system of 22 legal hydrants was best run by Rangers which was generating good amount for water board, while now it was handed over to “rooky contractors”.
A human right defender, Lala Hassan said corruption and political postings in water board were the main problems, otherwise there was no issue of scarcity in the city.
A senior member of Shehri, Amra Javed, said that since over 30 years, no new dam could be built in the country. It seemed as if KWSB had abrogated its responsibilities as no fixed price was being charged over water due to lack of check and balance. It should fix its price and then make it public through media.
“Leaking pipes and tankers are causing destruction to roads along wasting water,” she said.