Excerpt from Dawn
ON Jan 15, 2006, the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) inaugurated its new fountain – the Rs320m lighted harbour structure that spews seawater hundreds of feet into the air.
Also on this day – as on most others in Karachi – several million gallons of the city’s water supply were lost to leakage, some hundred million gallons of raw sewage oozed into the sea, and scores of Karachiites failed to secure clean water.
Over the next few years, the fountain jet would produce a powerful and relentless stream of water high above Karachi. Meanwhile, down below, tens of thousands of the city’s masses would die from unsafe water.
After several fountain parts were stolen in 2008, the KPT quickly made the necessary repairs and re-launched what it deems “an extravaganza of light and water”.
In an era of rampant resource shortages, boasting about such extravagance demonstrates questionable judgment. So, too, does the willingness to lavish millions of rupees on a giant water fountain, and then to repair it fast and furiously – while across Karachi and the nation as a whole, drinking water and sanitation projects are heavily underfunded and water infrastructure stagnates in disrepair.
Continue reading on Dawn.
For more on Pakistan’s water crisis, see the Wilson Center report, “Running on Empty.”
Photo Credit: Adapted from UN map of South Asia, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.