Text & Visuals | Abdul Rehman

Issue 56

The provision of safe water supply has remained an important concern of all responsible governments. At the time of advent of subcontinent by the British, there was serious outbreak of cholera in the towns and cities of the subcontinent. A large number of military personals died. The civil surgeons were asked to check the quality of water from its sources and in this regards several reports were published describing the quality of water. At the same time water supply schemes were prepared for all major towns.  I would like to present the important case study of water supply in Karachi based on the lengthy paper “The Karachi Waterworks” written by its designer James Strachen. The purpose of this paper is draw lessons from the basic design concepts taken in to consideration and our way forward to combat the current situation. 

The paper begins with the comprehensive analysis of geography of Karachi including description of Malir and Lyari rivers, their origin, the rainfall, different torrents which joins them and availability of the water. (Fig.1) It was mentioned that although the Malir River is dry for grater part of the year, yet water is readily available and can be obtained any time in the sandy bed by digging down a few feet below the surface. At a depth of 10 to 30 feet below the bed, water is plentiful. The only sources of water supply before the project were few wells in the gardens and shallow wells in the bed of the Lyari River.

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