Karachi at night, Shutterstock
Karachi Image Credit: Shutterstock

Karachi: The Sindh government is planning to build a desalination plant to overcome water scarcity for residents of Karachi.

Addressing a dialogue at the Institute of Business Administration on “Karachi: The way forward”, the city’s administrator, Murtaza Wahab, said the Ibrahim Hyderi coastal area of the city has been chosen to implement the proposed project of desalination plant.

He told the audience that initially the proposed desalination plant would produce two million gallons of desalinated water daily (MGD). Later, the capacity of the plant would be scaled up to five MGD.

He said the proposed desalination plant would serve the water supply needs of the water-starved District South of Karachi that was situated at the tail-end of the bulk water supply system of the city.

Wahab said desalination had been effectively utilised as one of the means to fulfil water supply needs of many coastal cities around the world.

“But it is unfortunate that the concerned quarters have so far been sceptical about utilising this mean in Karachi but now the Sindh government has planned to set up one such plant,” he said.

He said that one of the main reasons behind the scepticism was the relatively higher cost of desalinated water for the residents of Karachi as compared to the price of the regular bulk water supply in the city.

“The Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) charges around 32 Paisa as the per gallon cost of water supplied to the people of Karachi while in the case of desalinated water the per gallon rate would increase up to Rs1.10,” he said.

Wahab said the KWSB had so far remained reluctant to set up the desalination plant due to the higher cost involved.

He said Karachi’s water requirement stood around 1200 MGD as not more than 550 MGD water was available to meet this demand.

He said the Sindh government had started the process of building a new canal to increase the bulk water supply from Hub Dam while water would also be drawn from the Haleji Lake for Karachi.

He said different projects being undertaken by the Sindh government were expected to increase bulk water supply to Karachi by 120 MGD in the next two years.