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Water utility chief concerned over theft, inaction

Karachi has faced severe water shortage for many years and rampant water theft adds to the scarcity

Gulf News

Karachi: The chief of water supply utility to Karachi on Wednesday expressed concerns over police inaction against water theft and illegal hydrants that were aggravating the water shortage in the city.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Misbahudeen Fareed, the chief of Karachi Water Supply and Sewerage Board (KWSB), said his organisation got over 100 police complaints registered with the police but no one was arrested.

He said under the law a punishment of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment as well as a fine could be slapped on culprits found guilty of water theft.

Fareed said the KWSB demolished some 193 illegal hydrants all over the city beside disconnecting 2,100 illegal connections.

However, he admitted that some ‘specific groups’ were still operating illegal hydrants in the city.

Karachi is faced with severe water shortage for the past several years and rampant water theft adds to the scarcity.

For the past three years water availability from Hub Dam has been insufficient because of insufficient rains in the region. From River Indus, Karachi gets 680 million gallons of water daily against its demand of 1,100 million.

The KWSB said that because of unplanned increase in the population of the city and mushrooming construction of high-rise was causing additional burden to the existing water infrastructure.

He said that he was not against the construction of the multi-storied buildings but the building authorities should upgrade their system to check the illegal high-rise buildings so that the people could be spared of further water shortage.

He also complained that the KWSB was not getting its 30 per cent revenue shares from the building authorities for which it was entitled.

Highlighting the reforms in the KWSB, Fareed said that his administration was taking action against the ‘ghost employees’ and so far 500 such employees were sacked from the organisation.

He blamed the high-rise buildings for the breaking down of sewerage system for putting pressure on the system. At many places the sewerage was mixing with drinking water lines creating serious health hazard to the population, he said.

He said he personally oversaw the operation against illegal hydrants, despite that there were still complaints of illegal hydrants operating at different places in the city.