Why Karachi Drowns
Perween’s deep understanding of the drainage system of Karachi laid out in this article …..along with maps prepared by her which formed the conceptual basis for the government’s S3 Project.
“The knowledge regarding these issues was developed by the seminal work done by architect Perveen Rehman, then director OPP-RTI. She identified and documented 43 nullahs and, on the basis of this knowledge, OPP worked out the details of a sewage system consisting of trunks on either of side of the nullahs and being connected near the disposal points with each other, and pumped from there to the treatment plants (See map below for OPP-RTI proposal).”
This proposal was accepted and, with modifications, it formed the basis for the Greater Karachi Sewage Plan (also known as S-3) — part of which is now under construction. At a meeting where this decision was taken, the ADB consultant for the design of the ODA UK-financed trunks expressed grave concern and pointed out that Her Majesty’s government had invested 1 million pounds in the preparation of the designs…..
During the mapping of the storm water drains, OPP-RTI had constant interaction with the local communities living along the nullahs. It was only them who knew the points of maximum flooding, the behavior pattern of the floods and of the various smaller drains that have disappeared. So far, how they can be made part of the planning and rehabilitation process has not been considered by the government agencies.
OPP also studied how the Japanese, after the devastation of the Second World War, had dealt with a similar situation. They had secured the edges of the nullahs to prevent erosion. In appropriate places, they had covered the nullahs and used their roofs as public space and created sports grounds, children’s play areas and community spaces for older people. Unfortunately, OPP could not carry out these proposals.
(Maps prepared by Perween formed the basis of the S3 project)