January 15— During today’s inauguration of a new water pump and filtration plant in Karachi, Pakistan, few can forget the devastating heat wave last June, which took the lives of over 1,400 people in Karachi and affected countless others. The plant, which is sponsored by the Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA), has the capacity to provide 2,000 liters of fresh, clean water a day to over 60,000 people, serving as a first step towards preventing similar tragedies in the future.

The availability of clean water is a pressing concern across Pakistan, and the bustling metropolis of Karachi is no exception. With a population of over 23 million and an arid climate along the coast of the Arabian Sea, Karachi’s demand for water is significant even in the best of times. However, last June saw temperatures rise to over 113 °F (45 °C) for five consecutive weeks, placing a tremendous strain on the resource. The new plant, which uses a submersible pump and reverse osmosis technology, is intended to not only aid residents in the immediate area, but also serve as an inspiration for neighboring communities to adopt similar methods and ensure future water supplies.

“This is a humble gift from the people of Houston, Texas, USA, to the people of Karachi,” said Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, president of the HKSCA. Shortly after the tragedy, Mr. Sheikh and the HKSCA approached Helping Hands for Relief & Development, a leading US-based humanitarian organization, and offered to sponsor one of its three ongoing water pump projects in Karachi. Working with a major NGO in the country, the ALKhidmat Foundation Pakistan (AKFP), the HHRD team was able to complete the plant early this year.

This project closely mirrors a similar submersible water pump plant undertaken by the HKSCA and the HHRD back in 2014, which currently supplies 1,800 liters of water a day to the village of Dadsar, Tharparkar. Already, the local populace has felt the positive effects of the new water pump plant, evinced by the fruits and vegetables that now grow in areas that were previously too dry to support life. By coordinating on projects such as these with the Pakistan-based Karachi-Houston Sister City Association (KHSCA) and other international organizations, the HKSCA’s actions do credit to the Sisters Cities mandate, which aspires to link cities through business, educational, cultural, and humanitarian endeavors.

Written by Paul T. Cuclis


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