The missing links: This is where our water goes By Ali OusatPublished: September 19, 2013 Approximately 15 to 20 million gallons of water per day is stolen through these illegal water hydrants, Sheikh reported. KARACHI: The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has failed to chalk out an effective strategy to carry out a crackdown against the illegal water hydrants operational in the city. These illegal hydrants are allegedly protected by law enforcers, political parties and certain officials of the KWSB, The Express Tribune has learnt. Speaking to The Express Tribune, the boards managing director, Qutubuddin Sheikh, admitted that black sheep of the department were involved in the business as it was a lucrative source of income. Approximately 15 to 20 million gallons of water per day is stolen through these illegal water hydrants, Sheikh reported. He lamented that those involved in the illegal business did not show any consideration while creating a dire shortage in the water supply while filling their own pockets. Sheikh said that the water board, with the help of law enforcement agencies and deputy commissioners, had started a crackdown against the illegal water hydrants operational in Baldia and SITE and sealed eight illegal water hydrants and a further 21 illegal connections. Following the crackdowns, our officers also registered FIRs against the culprits so these people would not be able to reconnect or reopen the illegal water hydrants, he added. A thriving business The illegal hydrant business, however, continues to thrive in the city, aided by leaders of political parties, law enforcers and a few officials of the KWSB. Landhi, Korangi, Shah Faisal, Bin Qasim, Liaqatabad, SITE, and Keemari are some of the areas where these illegal hydrants are found in abundance. What is surprising is that these hydrants are legitimised illegally by the incumbent KWSB officials. In Banaras and the adjoining Abdullah College vicinity, an influential leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) allegedly runs his business openly and provides the water to dye factories by installing illegal connections to the main line which runs through North Nazimabad from Banaras. According to the residents, the ANP leader has allegedly installed his own metres at the dye factories and charges up to Rs1.5 million per month for the water supply. A similar situation exists at the illegal water hydrant located just behind the Paposh Nagar police post, where a large number of water tankers continue to fill their tanks under the cover of the Paposh Nagar Police. Unfortunately, these hydrants are being run with the connivance of the law enforcement agencies while the areas political parties also receive their share from the owners of the hydrants to let their illegal businesses run smoothly. The ultimate sufferers On the other hand, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) are forced to bear the brunt of the shortage time and again. The water supply to DHA and CBC is channelised through the bulk water supply lines in Landhi, Korangi and Bin Qasim Town. The continuous manipulation of the bulk water lines in these towns is worsening the water crises in DHA and CBC. According to KWSB sources, at least 19 illegal hydrants are operational in Landhi and another six in Korangi. Though DHAs requirement is around 13 million gallons per day, it currently receives no more than eight million gallons a day, the source added. Meanwhile, KWSB has started to register cases against the water hydrant mafia but the police officials deployed in the respective areas have yet to take action. The boards MD has reportedly written a letter to the Rangers director general seeking assistance to initiate a crackdown against the perpetrators of the illegal business. Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2013.