Irrigation authorities of the Jamrao canal in Mirpur have failed to control water theft from the area through tampered watercourses. As a result, water was not reaching the reservoirs of the water supply scheme, causing acute water shortage in various areas of the city for the past month. It is said that landlords were involved in this water theft, where it was only after 12 hours of hectic effort that the water supply was restored. There are about a total of 40 watercourses in Mirpur, and almost them were found tampered with. Even with clear signs of a coming collapse or water and energy sources, water management is being given such a substandard priority by the government. Karachi is not the only city suffering, but its plight has been made public by the media. The problem is much bigger than we think.

Findings of a recent investigation report compiled by the irrigation department indicate that farmers at the tail-ends of irrigation system, were being deprived of 60 to 65 percent of their due share of water owing to water theft by landlords. As many as 123,415 persons were found involved in water theft across Punjab, but only 315 could be arrested and 82 imprisoned during 2014. While 28,390 water outlets were reported tempered, out of total 58,000, the total number of water theft cases in Punjab stood at 77,970 whereas 25,877 cases of theft involved the installation of illegal pipes at the canals. One can safely say that a lack of interest on part of the irrigation department officials, and a rigid stand on the importance of water management by the government is to blame.

With over 1,200 lives lost in the heat of Karachi, water has become a luxury for a few. Around 1,000 people died in public hospitals of Karachi, while dozens died at small medical institutes and clinics, with many of the victims being elderly people from low-income areas. Families of the dead have complained that there is no water to bathe the dead bodies of their love ones and there is a serious lack of water coolers, pipes and even basic cooling equipment for the patients in the hospitals. This historical hot weather has exposed the failures of all civic authorities especially water and power organisations. At the micro level people are dying from heat and dehydration, while the bigger picture shows a dying eco-system, where water shortage and environmental damages will slowly cripple agriculture and rural communities.