Water for sale

THE POPULATION explosion has caused Pakistan's per capita surface water resource to decline from 5,000 cubic metres in 1947 to 1,400 cubic metres today. This is expected to drop further to 800 cubic metres in the next two decades, writes Najma Sadeque for Panos.

Karachi, Pakistan's biggest urban centre, is a water-starved city where water is sold to its 12 million inhabitants by a highly organised network of water sellers. Tank operators sell water to the affluent, while donkey-cart owners sell to the poor, all in collusion with government functionaries who manage the water works departments.