The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Wednesday revealed that more than 10,000 people die in Karachi every year because of renal infections caused by contaminated water, and that 95 percent of functional water sources were unfit for drinking purposes.
A worldwide survey report on water borne diseases revealed that every third person has become patient of Hepatitis B or C and that the province of Sindh is the most affected by this chronic disease, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces rank second and third respectively.
The PCRWR conducted a Technical Assessment Survey of water supply schemes in 22 districts of Sindh, which ascertained that the performance of water-schemes in providing safe water in an adequate quantity had been extremely poor.
The survey revealed that water supply schemes are providing piped water supply for drinking purposes to some 11.716 million persons spread over 1247 surveyed water schemes.Currently, nearly 47 percent of the total population remains unserved by the water supply schemes. Even more alarming is that 98 percent of the functional schemes are providing unsafe drinking water.
Speaking to the APP, Chairman PCRWR Dr Aslam Tahir said that a lack of proper management, operation and maintenance of the water systems isone of the critical issues of the water supply schemes and that 75 percent of the total 718 non-functional schemes have been temporarily closed.
The chairman said that temporary closure of these schemes was because of financial problems, damage to some important components of the water distribution system and the non-functioning of pumps, motors and transformers.
The survey also showed that 95 percent of water sources of the functional schemes are unfit for drinking purposes and are believed to contain microbiological contaminants.The survey also states that nine percent of the schemes are over 20 years old, 16 percent of the schemes are 20-25 years old, 28 percent schemes are between 15-20 years old, whereas 47 percent of the schemes are 10-15 years old.
The Chairman said that most of the schemes have used G1 pipe for the distribution system, the useful life of which is less than 20 years.
“This necessitates a program of rehabilitation, coupled with redesigning of water supply schemes in the district with priority being given to the older schemes,” he explained.“These remedial works should be based on the estimation of present and future water requirements for the increasing population,” he added.