Water Crisis in Karachi leading to worst situation now


Bozdar’s family moved to Karachi for a better life in 2012. He settled down in Qalandarabad a small Goth in Gulistan-e-Jouhar Block 10. “Everything is available here but (potable) water,” he laughed. “We never thought before moving to the city that water would be a challenge for us,” he said.

He said one of the prime responsibility assigned by his parents was to arrange water if the supply in the taps was suspended for one reason or another. “Everyone in Karachi has the same issue – even the rich have to arrange (purchase) it,” he told.

Across the city, residents echoed the same concern. “It’s not a new issue for me. I have been carrying water cans on my head since childhood,” said Mukhtara Mai, a resident of Bhitai Aabad. “I have compromised on quality but I need it daily.”


“In Karachi, the average availability of piped water supply is three days a week for less than three hours,” the study finds. It further states that the urban water crisis is grossly underestimated and that even more urbanites will suffer water deprivation if no action is taken immediately.


“Climate change is stressing the availability of freshwater resources in Sindh. The province is facing extreme weather events leading to water scarcity”.


Karachi draws its water mainly from the Keenjhar Lake, natural reservoir about 149km from the city, which, in turn, gets the water from what’s left of the Indus River  Through a network of canals and conduits, 550 million gallons of water a day (MGD) is fed into the city’s main pumping station at Dhabeji.


Alarming Findings; A worst like situation in upcoming years!

The report, titled ‘Unaffordable and Undrinkable: Rethinking Urban Water Access in the Global South’ warns that by 2030- 45 cities with populations of over three million could experience high water stress. It adds that even in some places where the water stress is low, the water does not reach many residents.

Water supply is the process of cleaning and filtering water for the purposes of making it safe for drinking, bathing, cooking and other uses of it. According to the World Health organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), globally, as of 2020, around 1 in 4 people were determined to be lacking access to potable water in their place of residence. Particularly, in Pakistan, an estimated 70% of households drink water contaminated with bacteria. However even in Pakistan, there are differences between rural and urban environments in general and even differences between urban environments themselves.


More particularly, Karachi for example, data gathered by research officers of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) estimates that up to 91% of drinking water is unsafe to drink. This is in stark contrast to the data collected by the same council in which they found that only 62% of drinking water out of the 29 major cities tested across Pakistan to be unfit for consumption.


The provincial government of Sindh still lacks proper and authenticated data available to sort out the problem on water issue. The data available on water is always taken from different sources like INGOs, NGOs and other federal projects running in the province. There is a lot of work need to be done for safe drinking water for the people of Karachi as the situation is going from bad to worst in next few years!