Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hurdles and solutions to K-IV mega project

By Salman Chandio
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The biggest issue of Karachi nowadays remains the substantial shortage of water. In order to overcome this shortage, a critical project in name of K-IV had been taken up three years ago which is creeping so slow that people of Karachi are losing their hope day by day and they are now even afraid of riots due to water crisis.

Similar conditions were witnessed in 1998 in District West and the area had to given under the control of Pakistan Army and Pakistan Ranger along with all the Water Tanker Service who managed equitable distribution in the tanks of mosques and community places which allowed people to fetch in fixed timings as per schedule in a discipline which was beyond civil authorities, specifically with the limited KW&SB management resources. 

The KW&SB's K-IV (Phase-I ) project has been jointly managed by the provincial and federal governments and was planned to provide 650 million gallons of water daily to Karachi in three phases, but 260 MGD so far its first stage is yet to be completed. Its feasibility report was prepared in 2007 and PC-I was developed by the consultant the same year with a project cost of Rs 28 billion which was duly approved by P&D department of the Government of Sindh. 

It was also approved by the Government of Pakistan in 2011, with the project cost being Rs 25 billion. The year wise funding was also released by the provincial and federal governments to the KW&SB Project.

The total length of the Phase 1 of the project is 120 km, of which approximately 92 km is open canal, 10 km are siphons, and approximately 8 km are RCC conduits. 

The project envisages two Bulk Pump Stations each capable of pumping 260 million gallons per day, and three filtration plants- one of 130 MGD and two of 65 MGD capacity and power Connection for all Pump Houses. 

The K-IV canal runs along the Kheerthar mountain range which posed substantial construction challenges. 

The contract was divided into two packages, one of civil works and other of Electrical/Mechanical works (Pump Houses and Filter Plants) and was allotted to the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) as contractor.

Later on, while start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated Consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

The two years’ time of completion was given to FWO ending in December 2018. This time has now been extended up to December 2020. 

The contractor was delayed due to defective feasibility report route and PC-I based on that was also found defective when consultant and contractor reached on ground. Hence considerable delay in review of route and finalization/vetting same from third party has yet not been finalized. The work has been held up so for.

Accordingly, construction cost also is gradually increasing high up to Rs 75 billion as learnt. 

While start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

Water is being extracted from Keenjhar Lake through three water canals and each canal for each phase. 

The project (Phase-I) initially targeted to be completed in mid 2017 but extended to December 2018. It is now is reported to be delayed for more than two years and end in December 2020. The great tragedy of this project is that it started with ill- planning, right from its inception of feasibility study and PC-I stages. Very little or no planning was done for pumping stations, power generation units and filter plants to bring the water to required height.

The actual ground condition was not highlighted in PC-I which was merely reflected position from Google. Extra massive work then was required at site including twelve bridges, eighteen pedestrian culverts in Canal's way and the staff colony. 

The augmentation work to connect the Canal/Filter plants with existing transmission water trunk main system duly ignored also needs to be laid because of the Canal/Filter plants would be 50 Kilometers distance away from it, was conspicuously absent in planning which resulted in cost overruns from Rs 25 billion to Rs 75 billion with a portal of further cost escalation. 

Further, the conditions of ground reveal that this route adopted for Canal etc is technically proved to be costly and rather total y not feasible to waste further money as there is no chance of success. How the route would change? Because they understand that the present route is correct and water will reach at their destination positively in two years. 

They may not understand how the present route will not be supported. Kindly be advised to concerned authorities who make decision positively. Their contention and technical approach is proved wrong. 

Now the responsibility fixation and re-route also depends upon authorities whether they feel their present route is okay and then should own failure or take full responsibility if water would not be reaching to city even from 50 KM away as per existing route and God forbid that all expenditures upon completion go in drain and on other side the civil war to start among citizens on shortage of water and population of city would have been doubled than 2006 when K-III was commissioned. 

They should now reaffirm to continue upon failure-route taken up as per private agenda Alternatively they may switch back and re route as per scope as was decided by GOS in approved PC-II. 

As decided by GOS in PC-II the storage would be ensured from Haleji and Hadero lakes to eliminate shortage in winter every year during four months in winter season when Indus River is dry and in future to experience more shortage in Indus. 

Secondly water will reach to nearby City and close inter connections with existing transmission system instead of connecting from 50 KMs away and expenditure of Rs 28 billion proposed would be saved. 

Thirdly the single stage Bulk Pumping will do it possible instead Double Stage Bulk Pumping about Rs 30 cores per each stage as electric bill would be saving for long life by adopting single Bulk Pumping as in K- I, II, III as yet. 

The original route based upon Single Stage Pumping with ensured supply of water direct to city on gravity basis at Rs 30 billion instead now 75 billion and expected to shoot upto Rs 100 billion or even Rs 200 billions but this route was changed by private agenda of consultants with wasted interests and without any intimation/approval the change of scope of PC-II approved by GOS. 

There shall be change of route in place of existing private agenda failure route to save expenditures, to ensure Single Bulk Pump House instead of Double Pumping House, to ensure possibility to bring water nearest to city instead 50 KMs away from city which requires Rs. 28 billion proposed and the utilization of Haleji and Hadero lakes for Storage of water during four months of winter season in addition to Keenjhar Lake. 

**The writer is former Managing Director of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB)