KARACHI -- The water crisis in Karachi seems to be getting worse day by day with no immediate solution in sight. The worst-hit areas are Defence, Lyari, Gulistan-e- Johar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Landhi, Malir, Korangi, Orangi, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, New Karachi and many other similar localities. In most of the areas, the water supply timing by KWSB and load-shedding hours are the same so people cannot store water.
There's nothing here,' says Farzana Khatoun, surveying the dry expanse of land before her. 'We don't even have enough water to wash up for prayer, do our laundry or wash our dishes.' Khatoun cannot simply turn on a tap and expect water to gush out; her home is not connected to the water pipelines of Karachi, the sixth most water-stressed city in the world.
The city has two sources of water supply, Hub Dam and Keenjhar Lake. The Hub Dam is empty due to the lack of rainfall in Karachi in the last three years. Hub Dam primarily supplied water to district West. Now, the city depends on the water of Keenjhar Lake which is distributed through Dhabeji pumping station.
The Dhabeji pumping station supplies 450MGD of water, but by the time it reaches the city it is reduced to 400MGD since it is either stolen or lost in leakages. Various areas that were earlier supplied water every 15 to 20 days, now do not get it for months.
Karachi - home to more than 20 million people - is currently meeting just 50% of its total water requirement, according to officials from the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). The city needs 1.1bn gallons of water daily but can only supply 550m gallons per day (MGD). Meanwhile, Karachi's population growth rate of 4.5% per annum means that nearly a million newcomers - economic migrants, refugees and internally displaced people - enter the city every year, further stressing the already-limited water supply.
'Since this government came into power in 2013, we haven't had water,' says Mofiz Khan, a shopkeeper in Orangi Town, an economically depressed area in westernmost Karachi. Khan has tried different methods to provoke a response: he's written letters, demonstrated on the streets and waited in long queues for water tankers, at times getting into a fracas with other water-starved residents.
The water crisis is the result of several factors. Scarce water resources persistently fail to meet the massive demand from a burgeoning population. The Hub Dam went dry earlier this year, leaving Karachi with just one water...