Huge pits dug by miners to extract sand at the Prodatoor channel in the Musi river course, about 8 km from Osmansagar, was detected by Water Board officials on Tuesday

Illegal sand mining in its catchment area is a new threat facing Osmansagar, one of the two principal reservoirs, which supply water to the city.

Huge pits dug by miners to extract sand at the Prodatoor channel in the Musi river course – about eight km from Osmansagar was detected by Water Board officials on Tuesday while going around the catchment areas of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar.

HMWSSB Managing Director J. Syamala Rao decided to take up the matter with the Ranga Reddy Collector and also present photographic evidence to press for immediate action.

Water flow may be hit

The huge mounds of earth left after extraction of sand are bound to come in the way of water flow should the Musi receives good inflows.

With the south west monsoon set to arrive, the Board swung into action to clear blockages in the main inflow channels of the reservoirs.

Government order violated

Several structures, residential houses, institutions have come up bang in the catchment area in total violation of GO 111 which prohibits any kind of development within 10 km radius of the FTLs of the twin reservoirs.

“We have no regulatory powers and have no role in implementation of the GO. It is for the HMDA and Panchayat Raj Department to enforce rules,” remarked Mr. Syamala Rao.

Sanitation issues

He admitted that 70 colleges in the catchment areas pose severe sanitation problem to the drinking water sources.

The Pollution Control Board served notices on them to stop letting in their sewerage and to install STPs.

Fishing ban

The Water Board wrote to the government for issuing a separate GO banning fishing activity in the lakes, Mr. Rao said.

While Osmansagar is all but dried up, Himayatsagar looks slightly better with some inflows, although negligible.

Monday night’s heavy rains in Vikarabad, Pargi and Chevella have brought in four feet water into the Venkatapur channel on the Esi river course.

Water scarcity

Officials are confident of drawing 12 mgd from Osmansagar till June 15 while the Himayatsagar can supply eight mgd till the month end.

The Board plans to lay a parallel pipeline for a distance of 14.5 km from Osmansagar dam to Asifnagar Filter Beds since the present conduit laid in 1920 has become old. The new line would cost Rs. 110 crore.

Toll gate to come up

The Board also proposes to set up a toll gate at the reservoirs with a view to checking the traffic flow as about 1,000 vehicles pass through the bund daily and on weekends, this figure goes up.

It is also in the process of erecting a chain link fence all along the two km length of the Osmansagar bund to check accidents and illegal entry.

At Himayatsagar fencing has already been done for the entire bund area of 1.8 km.

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