Saturday, March 25, 2023

Karachi’s water mafia

Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan and 12th largest in the world, with a population of over 20m. The city has enormous water needs. It's core population is growly rapidly, with an industrial hub with over 10,000 factories. Up to 80% of the city’s water is pumped through a leaky 10,000km network of ancient pipelines at low prices. The other 20% rely on private tankers charging much more.
As the state-run water supply increasingly fails, the water mafia steps in to profit. And where do they get their water? Illegal water hydrants are built to siphon off the water from the main supply. Over 10 million gallons per day is stolen from the system. That system has not seen any upgrades for over 25 years because there is no revenue.

The issue has become political as control over water from the city’s rapidly depleting freshwater sources has become one of the most lucrative industries in the mega-city. In Karachi, those politicians with close ties to the water mafia have the most power, and are emblematic of state corruption.