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KARACHI: Water-deficient megacity, Karachi, urgently needs a rainwater harvesting system to store and re-use rainwater that now simply inundated streets before being drained out into the sea, said Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor.

He said rainwater harvesting system, also called rainwater collection system or rainwater catchment system, technology that collects and stores rainwater for human use. Rainwater harvesting systems range from simple rain barrels to more elaborate structures with pumps, tanks, and purification systems.

The no potable water can be used to irrigate landscaping, flush toilets, wash cars, or launder clothes, and it can even be purified for human consumption. With water scarcity a pressing problem for many densely populated regions, rainwater harvesting systems can supply households and businesses with water for use in dry seasons and lessen the demand on municipal systems.

He said though Karachi does not get heavy rainfalls every year, but still during monsoon season it often gets plenty of showers. He said in this season we see Hub Dam and small dams on the Malir River overflowing. He said supplementary water reservoirs on Hub, Lyari and Malir river systems could help store this excessive water and its use for industrial and agricultural purposes.

He said it is pity that both Malir and Layari rivers, essentially rainwater rivers, are being used as drainage Nullahs. He said the drainage of municipal water should not be carried through natural waterways but instead an extensive municipal drainage system should be devised for them. He said hundreds of small natural rainwater Nullahs is encroached upon by land mafia.

He said in posh society like DHA the natural waterways to drain out rainwater are used to crave plots. He said for land reclamation in DHA the natural outflow of rainwater is blocked which resulted into drowning of some DHA blocks during ongoing monsoon season. He said illegal constructions on Nehr-e-Khayam in Clifton are another example of encroachments in posh areas.

He said houses of poor people are demolished in case of encroachments over Gujjar and Orangi Nullahs, but illegal encroachments by the elite in DHA, Clifton and PECHS get the blind eye of the rulers.

He said in Saddar town not only the Urdu Bazaar is built over a Nullah, but some blocks of Sindh Secretariat, parking areas of Supreme Court Registry and Shaheen Complex are said to be built over the said Nullahs, but in this case the question is who will bell the cat?

He said if the megacity gets free flowing rainwater drainage Nullahs and waterways and workable water harvesting systems on them, the city could be made greener than Murree and Islamabad, besides catering the need of industrial water.

Altaf Shakoor regretted that the megacity Karachi is being neglected in every sector. He said the public transport system of Karachi is a glaring example of this apathy and neglect. He said Dhaka is building its underground rail system, but the Karachi is content with its dysfunctional surface rail commuting system, KCR.

He said the second phase of the Green Line RBT is in the limbo for more than a year, while in Islamabad the RBT systems are made functional within weeks on the order of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He asked the Karachiites wonder why PM Shehbaz Sharif is ignoring the Green Line RBT that was a flagship project of his brother former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Altaf Shakoor demanded from the PM Shehbaz Sharif and chief minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to focus on neglected drainage and public transport issue of Karachi. He asked PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is a promoter of better environmental systems in the megacity that like his initiatives to develop urban forest along Lyari and Malir rivers, he should also order initiatives for saving rainwater streams and natural waterways from being converted into drainage Nullahs and ensuring rainwater harvesting on them where possible and practicable.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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