ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has rated the $100 million worth of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project KWSSIP as “high risk” while observing that the outcome of operation and maintenance (O&M cost recovery) is off-track because of delays in implementing revenue-enhancing activities envisaged under the project.
The project became effective on February 2020, with the objective to improve access to safe water services in Karachi and to increase KWSB’s financial and operational performance.
This project is the first in a Series of Projects (SoP) aligned with the 2019 Commitment of Cooperation (CoC) signed between the Government of Sindh (GoS), the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), and the World Bank to address the severe water and sanitation service gaps in Karachi.
The project aimed to achieve two outcomes: (i) provide access to safe drinking water for at least two million residents of Karachi, and (ii) increase KWSB’s financial and operational performance by increasing operation and maintenance (O&M) cost recovery percentage from 59 percent to 100 percent. The project has been under implementation for three years and will close on June 30, 2025.
The World Bank and Government of Sindh jointly conducted a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the project.
The review concluded that the first outcome (access to safe drinking water) remains on track, and the KWSB can achieve it before the project closing date, provided there are no further slippages on the works contracts.
However, the second outcome (O&M cost recovery) is off-track because of delays in implementing revenue-enhancing activities envisaged under the project, including digitisation of hydrant management and monitoring, installing large-diameter retail customer meters, and re-introducing the wastewater tariff. The GoS must maintain the momentum on the reform agenda that will put KWSB on a more sustainable financial footing. Key actions include the prompt selection and approval of the remaining three KWSB executives (chief financial officer, chief information technology officer, and chief internal auditor) and approval of the draft Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) Act by the provincial assembly as soon as possible.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023