Karachi mainly, and Pakistan entirely, has been utterly devasted by the wrath of natural disasters: floodings. Recent urban floodings in Karachi have cost the city over half a billion dollars, killing dozens from electrocution and others from invisible, open manholes. With vicious rainfalls and urban flooding, even the poshest areas in Karachi – DHA – eroded well-equipped homes, let alone lower-middle and middle-income settlements.
According to climate experts – God forbid – Pakistan’s biggest metropolis may face more flood-induced destruction over the coming years. And the subsequent rainfalls, climate change, and the influx of heat-wave will make the situation 10x more harmful for Karachittes. Assessing the devastation, one could easily reckon all of this can’t happen alone by monsoon rains, heat-wave, or any other adverse climate effects. But more of a systematic downfall of the law enforcement agencies combined with highly inept and sluggish officeholders.
As reports emerged from certain parts of Karachi’s outskirts, they tell a completely different story that validates the previous statement made by us. Bahria Town Karachi, the most premium and well-known housing society in Pakistan, has effortlessly managed to cope with history’s harshest rainfalls and made necessary changes to handle many others like these in the future. One may ask why the situation is 180 degrees different in the same city. Let’s explain.
Bahria Doesn’t Build on Nalas, Neither Informally Expanded
The main problem of Karachi is its illogical demographical expansion due to the influx of a large population coming literally from everywhere. However, for such a big metropolis, Karachi, it’s good that people come to the city far and wide, do business, pay taxes, and boost its GDP. Now, everything looks good when you have a systematized plan to provide food, places to house people, and resources to distribute. Sadly, none of it is to be seen in Karachi’s case whatsoever.
As per reports, more than 800,000 migrants came to Pakistan between 1947 till 1951, out of which the majority settled in Karachi. Keeping in mind new geographical and demographical changes and the expansion of the cities, the government devised The Greater Karachi Resettlement Plan pushed forward in 1958. In that plan, it’s mentioned building sewerage treatment plants across new settlement areas. However, in 2022, people are still waiting for that.
Talking about the sewerage system, there are mainly two rivers – Malir and Lyari – that throw out sewerage materials into the sea. And more than 58 storm-water sewerages and 600 small drain systems from different areas fall into these rivers. With such a complex system in place, if you settle millions of people informally, build a housing society over it, place formal settlements, and expect nothing will happen from the clogging of the individual drain, it is nothing more than wishful thinking.
After a few downpours, when drainages and sewerage brimming with water, the overall system will surely go out of order. And excess water doesn’t find any place to flow out and remain calm, resulting in urban flooding in Karachi. Moreover, that occurs prominently in areas where illegal settlements were proudly built and widely appraised in the past. The point of concern is that the population with below living standards lived in those areas, and that constant flooding substantially deteriorates their lifestyle.
Coming to Bahria Town Karachi, though it’s not fair to compare a housing society with the biggest metropolis of Pakistan. But seeing how a well-versed community keeps its drainage and sewerage clean is more than just a case study for many of those in power. In Bahria, they have built small on-road drainages every few meters on their highways and roads connecting houses and apartments. That drainage waste falls into nalas running across Bahria Town Karachi, which then throws water into the Malir river. And stores the remaining water in dams for agriculture purposes. Similarly, that stored water is really beneficial for parks, land irrigations, and in fire extinguishing purposes.
Fun Fact: Only in Bahria Town Karachi more than four small dams can easily be located within a small radius.
Deterioration of Nalas
Karachi’s administration not only clogged nalas but also made it confined to the extent that every other day pipelines blow up due to massive water surges. And that affect people’s lives through broken roads, smelly water, and potential diseases such as Dengue and Malaria. One of the problems with Karachi city is having such an enormous population. The city contains only two landfill sites for 30 million people located 40 kilometers outside of Karachi. Due to this, most of the garbage doesn’t reach its destination.
Moreover, there are private contractors who pay and ask KMC authorities not to pick up the garbage as they find and recycle materials from it. After choosing what they really needed from the waste, they left it wide open, hoping Mother Nature would take care of it! And the exposed debris will ultimately go into the drains and water sewerage pipes, clogging them to the extent that wastewater overflows and affects the population.
Similarly, due to illegal and informal settlements, waste material from buildings and communities directly went into nalas. Those similar nalas which are already filled up by rainwater, garbage dumps, and uncompacted waste. Furthermore, constant settlements near nalas and natural drainage affected nala’s width from 20-40 meters to less than ten. And, in some areas, lesser than five meters. Shockingly, the Government of Sindh and the land mafias, both were the preparators of the mess.
Urban flooding in Karachi is primarily due to the incompetent infrastructural layouts. That further fuels the thoughtless creation of new areas across Karachi. Sites such as Nagan Chowrangi, Surgani Town, Naya Nazimabad, and Baldia Town get washed away every time, even during nominal rainfall. The reason for this, as suggested by many experts, is the natural topography of Karachi city. That is quite different from the urban planning developed by industry “experts.”
As there are massive mountain peaks exist on the southern and western outskirts of Karachi; thus, it massively disturbs the low-lying areas: Nagan Chowrangi, Surgani Town, and Naya Nazimabad. Moreover, most of the new territories in Karachi that built for new citizens were constructed over a natural drainage system, further deteriorating nala’s condition throughout the city.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Even the self-proclaimed “development” authorities, such as DHA and KMC, have built homes by cutting the natural routes of the water flow. And those illegal topography results in the further blockages of the exit points of drainages. Furthermore, there are tens of bypasses that are created on the verge of the exit points of different sewerage and drainage stream flows. That, in detail, explains the problem of gutter overflow in Karachi because it’s a no-brainer when you close drainage exits; things shall go haywire.
When talking about infrastructure, Bahria Town Karachi has made extraordinary changes and established quality-of-life checklists. That prevent the gated community from any kind of natural calamity, let alone urban flooding. Many YouTubers and Facebook communities, after recent record rainfall in Karachi, created and published videos showing the competent Bahria Town’s infrastructure. They also showed how ground soaked up and transferred all rainwater to its designated location within an hour.
Further Degeneration of the City’s Landscape
The following points further contribute to urban flooding in many areas of Karachi. However, Bahria Town Karachi is, till now, safe from all of them.
- Karachi has areas and residential buildings built outwards of flood protection zones. Such as Emmar, that can come in direct contact; if, God Forbid, any severe natural calamity hits.
- Karachi looks like a concrete jungle, made worse by the ongoing effects of the heat wave throughout the city. After staunching heat, parched grounds are visible in many parts of Karachi, which worsen land’s ability to soak ground water.
- Karachiites needs Green spaces more than ever to give the city a more approachable and eco-friendly outlook. Furthermore, they can quickly soak up groundwater.
- The creation of buildings and slums over historically natural affected areas makes it impossible for authorities to devise a change of plans for the development of the regions.
- Slums in densely populated areas create two disadvantages: one, it makes it difficult for rainwater to move out. Secondly, due to congestion, severe harmful diseases will cultivate and affect the poorest class.
- With the addition of continuous groundwater exploitation, poorly managed drainage and sewerage pipes leverage the chances of urban flooding in Karachi.
- Not to mention the rise of unplanned management, recklessness of the flood control authorities, and untimed warning of natural calamities create reliable paths for more flood-related disasters.
Many of the aforementioned reasons can adequately deal with proper economic policies and competent leadership. However, with deep regret, those people aren’t even looking serious about doing the needful and at least kick-off rebuilding phases of the city of lights.
The case of Bahria Town Karachi is pretty strong when compared to the rest of Karachi. All Karachi needs is just a long-term plan by onboarding new, locally appointed, highly competent, apolitical industry experts. Once the plan is ready to implement, no matter what kind of government comes or India attacks (…), the development processes should get going until the last brick settle into its destined place.
Urban flooding in Karachi has created severe and long-term problems for the authorities. And countless difficulties for its citizens and their properties in Karachi. Karachi needs a well-versed city planning, drainage layouts, sewerage systems, urban development, water-saving infrastructures, etc. For all the practical examples, the authorities can take notes from Bahria Town Karachi.
If you’re looking to invest or buy properties in Bahria Town Karachi, it’s time to add this thing to your future planning and opt for the best apartments in the gated community.out
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