Dysfunctional Water and Sanitation Projects in Sindh (Pakistan)

  • F H Mughal
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Dysfunctional Water and Sanitation Projects in Sindh (Pakistan)

Dysfunctional Water and Sanitation Projects in Sindh (Pakistan)

The Judicial Commission is currently investigating the water and sanitation projects in the Sindh province of Pakistan. These 2 links, below, show the state of affairs of the water and sanitation (W&S) projects in Sindh (there are many links, but I'm highlighting only 2):



Let me mention few points from the links:

Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, head of the one-man Supreme Court-appointed commission on water quality in Sindh, was so aghast at finding highly polluted water being supplied to Sukkur and Rohri residents that he remarked the water was not even fit for consumption by animals.

Justice Muslim asked Sukkur Mayor Arsalan Islam Shaikh and Deputy Commissioner Raheem Bux Maitlo whether they, too, drank this water and the two hung their heads after failing to come up with an answer.

The judge then exhorted them to fear God in regard to people and said it was better not to supply water at all to save people from drinking such poison.

Justice Muslim expressed dissatisfaction over the state of filtration plants and directed the mayor to carry out de-silting of all four water tanks within 20 days.

The Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission on water quality and drainage in Sindh on Thursday submitted report before the apex court, stating that not a single treatment plant is working in Sindh, all sedimentation-based water supply schemes are dysfunctional with faulty design and untreated sewage continues to flow in irrigation water/canals at 750 points.

All settlement/sedimentation-based schemes were dysfunctional. Their basic design is faulty. It lacks provision of chlorination and coagulation/flocculation (alum dosing). With all impurities raw water is supplied to public for drinking purpose.

Filter plants of Karachi and Hyderabad were dysfunctional to varying degrees and none is producing water within acceptable parameters. Karachi’s distribution system is seedy and run down. The system makes sure that water, if filtered to some degree, reverts back to same, if not worse, status.

“Not a single sewerage treatment plant was working in province. Schemes are designed on conventional settlement/oxidation mechanism. Ironically not a single [one] of them was functioning. There is no sewerage treatment provision in whole province”, the report said.

It disclosed that “untreated sewerage continues to fall in irrigation water/canals at hundreds of places across Sindh (750 points)”.

Two things stand out clearly from the above observations: People have low knowledge, and are careless.

Some years back, working on an ADB project, I visited 11 towns of Sindh. In addition to the detailed field visits of water and sanitation (W&S) projects, I evaluated the technical knowledge of the Town Municipal Officers (TMOs), responsible for running the W&S projects. Field visits showed pathetic conditions of W&S facilities. Weed growth here and there, dead animals, and debris, showed careless attitude of staff.

On technical knowledge front, only 1 TMO had some knowledge. The rest of the 10 TMOs did not know even the ABC of water and sanitation.

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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