Increasing Coverage and Quality of Sanitation Provision: Lessons Learnt Through the Work of The Orangi Pilot Project

OPP-RTI’s documentation of the existing sewage disposal system in Korangi shows that a functional system built by the people and the KMC already exists. In 80 per cent of the area, lanes and secondary sewers dispose into a large KMC open drain whose width varies from 10 to 44 feet. The major sanitation problem in the area is that the existing drains are open, filled with garbage and silt and in places need repairs. The KWSB plan involves the extension of the faulty KWSB sewer system and its connection to a treatment plant which is to have a capacity 26 MGD. This means that unless the sewers in Korangi are relaid (costing billions of rupees) sewage from the area will not reach the treatment plant.

Here too there is need to develop the existing functional system which means that instead of rehabilitating and extending the non-functional upper and lower Landhi trunks, the KMC drains which are the existing disposals, should be developed as trunk mains and rain water disposal channels. In this case no realignments would be needed to pick up existing flows. Luckily, the existing drain disposal at Korangi Creek is located near the proposed site for STP. As such, no additional realignment is necessary.

By complimenting the existing system the cost of development would be reduced to 20 to 25 per cent of what the KWSB is proposing. In addition, complimenting the present system would also mean that the system would continue to function through gravity flow and would also consist of shallow sewers. As such, the system would not require heavy pumping related operational costs and would be easy to maintain. This would suit KWSB’s financial and maintenance capacity and capability.

The PC-1 of the Project was made without a proper survey. The costs given in the PC-1 are exorbitant. For example, the cost of an RCC box culvert of a cross section of 5.5 by 5.5 feet is given as 42,000 rupees. This is 12 times higher than conventional costs. The reason given by KWSB engineers for the high costs is that the Project will be built by foreign contracting firms, which are a condition imposed by the loan agreement.

Baldia-Orangi Comparison

Item Baldia Orangi
Government investment in PKR 400,000,000 256,200,000
Houses served 5,000 100,000+
Govt. Investment for household in PKR 80,000 2,562
Market value of people’s investment utilized by the plan in PKR Nil 700,000,000

Recent Developments

The OPP in March 1999 has made a presentation of its views on the Karachi sewage situation in general and regarding the Korangi Sewage Project in particular, before the Deputy Chief of the Planning Commission in Islamabad and before the Governor of Sindh. As a result of these meetings, a number of decisions were taken.

The Governor agreed that the government should only undertake what the OPP calls external development consisting of main disposals, nalas and treatment plants and the neighbourhood level infrastructure should be developed by communities and housing societies. He also agreed that the sewage treatment plants should be developed where the nalas join the sea. However, these decisions have yet to be included in policy documents. In addition, the URC chairman, who is also the principal consultant to the OPP, was made a member of the Steering Committee of the KWSB Korangi Waste Management Project.

At the meeting of the OPP with the Deputy Chief of the Planning Commission, it was decided between him, the KWSB high level functionaries and the OPP, that the OPP’s proposals for Orangi would be considered and as a result if there were any savings in the Korangi Project, they would be used for other sewage disposal projects for Karachi. However, it was latter discovered that the ADB loan was only meant for the Korangi Project and had to be fully utilised in the project area. The state functionaries knew this all along.

In April 1999, after detailed discussions with all the actors in the Korangi project drama, the Governor decided that the project would be built with local resources and with local expertise. This would bring the cost down to about $ 25 million as opposed to $100 million. During this meeting, the finance department of the government of Sindh pointed out that the KWSB owed the Sindh government Rs 46 billion, a debt it had not even started to service and as such, further loans should not be given to the KWSB.

The Governor’s decision has not been appreciated by the federal government and the provincial bureaucracy. Considerable pressure has been put on the Governor to change this decision and accept the ADB loan. As a result, the Governor has decided to convene another meeting of interest groups to discuss this issue.

Meanwhile, other important decisions have also been taken. The KMC has allocated Rs 10 million for converting of two Orangi nalas into box culverts and another Rs 20 million for the conversion of the Pitchard and Kalri nalas which carry the sewage of much of the old city of Karachi. In addition, District Municipal Council (DMC) West, DMC East, DMC Central and DMC South have allocated Rs 20, 5, 10 and 5 million, respectively, for converting their nalas into box culverts. The OPP will be the advisor to the KMC and the DMCs on these projects. A trunk development and upgrading programme for Karachi has been prepared by the KMC and the OPP (see Appendix – 1).

The OPP meanwhile is carrying out a survey of Karachi nalas and identifying the encroachments on them. In addition, it is looking into the possibility of building small treatment plants at the junction of the nalas and the creeks and the sea into which they flow. These treatment plants are necessary because there is no way that the sewage of the areas that are served by these nalas can be taken to the KWSB treatment plants without huge funds (these are not available) and without digging up and remaking entire roads in the city of Karachi.

Meanwhile, the Governor’s Task Force on Municipal Services has prepared a report “Sewage, Drainage and Treatment Plants” (see Appendix – 2). According to this report, the KWSB does not even manage 20 per cent of the sewage system of Karachi. The rest is managed by the KMC, DMC, Cantonment Boards, cooperative housing societies, builders and the people themselves. In addition, the only sewage related development that the KWSB has carried out has been through foreign funds. For its functioning, the KWSB receives a subsidy of Rs 375 million from the KMC. All Karachi nallas could be developed in a six year period by the KMC if this subsidy is used for the converting them to box culverts or laying trunk sewers along them. The treatment plants could also be built incrementally by KMC funds. This would solve one of Karachi’s most serious problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

site design by iMedia
Mobile Menu
Responsive Menu Image Responsive Menu Clicked Image