Loughborough University
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Alternate water supply arrangements in peri-urban localities: awami (people’s) tanks in Orangi township, Karachi

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-10-31, 14:36 authored by Noman Ahmed, M. Sohail (Khan)
Municipal water supply in Karachi has become grossly inadequate with reference to the user’s needs and expectations. As a consequence of this inadequacy, communities suffer from the poor level of service. Peri urban locations, especially low-income settlements have very limited access to municipal water supply. Communities in these locations have to evolve alternate arrangements for acquiring the minimum quantities of water for human survival. In some situations, public sector agencies extend support in service delivery. Benefits of such support are appropriately availed when the community members organise themselves and subsequently develop working relationships with the concerned service providers. Awami tanks represent an example where water supply service was developed as a cooperative arrangement, partnership, between informally developed community organizations and public sector agencies. This paper reviews the performance of awami tanks and explores the evolving partnerships between service providers, recipients of the service and other related stakeholders. Findings and analysis in this paper are based on documentation of 20 awami tanks in different locations in Orangi including Ghaziabad, Gulshan-e-Zia, Mansoor Nagar, Gulshan-e-Bihar and Raees Amrohi Colony. Structured feedback is obtained from concerned stakeholders such as tanker operators and owners, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) staff, Rangers personnel and municipal representatives. In addition, focused group meetings were held with tanker operators and area residents. Interviews were held with KWSB staff, Rangers1, elected councillors and political activists all of whom shared their views under the condition of anonymity. The findings of this paper reveal the evolution, development, operation and management of awami tanks. Analysis is done and conclusions drawn to assess the possibilities of sustainability and expansion of awami tank network.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


AHMED, N. and SOHAIL, M., 2003. Alternate water supply arrangements in peri-urban localities: awami (people’s) tanks in Orangi township, Karachi.


© Sage

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This article was accepted for publication in the journal, Environment and Urbanization [© Sage] and the definitive version is available at: http://online.sagepub.com/


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