Corrupt politicians allow businessmen to siphon off as much as 41% of the city's water supply and turn around and sell it at exorbitant rates to residents, generating an estimated $43 million a year.
Alex Rodriguez in the Los Angeles Times:
The water tanker mafia's prey can be found in slums like Karachi's Gulshan-Sikanderabad neighborhood, where every morning people buy water from the tankers, lug the plastic jugs back to their homes on wooden carts, then come back three or four more times in the afternoon and evening to buy more.
A family that makes $100 a month can spend as much as a quarter of that on water, which, elsewhere in Pakistan, costs pennies and flows out of household taps.
Water scarcity isn't the cause. Karachi has a steady water supply, and it has the network of pipes to pump ample water into every neighborhood, rich and poor.
But Karachi is also a city of opportunists forever on the prowl for under-the-table wealth.