Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs to go dry by April end
Hyderabadis, get ready for dry days and some unpleasant facts. The city is in for a severe water crisis, though officials wouldn’t admit. Both the Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs will go dry by April end and the city has to make do with reduced supplies from other sources. What it means is a shortfall of 40 to 50 mgd during the peak summer.
Levels in the principal city reservoirs are falling at an alarming rate. Himayatsagar can supply 13 mgd through gravity only up to March 10 and Osmansagar (17 mgd) up to March 31. Arrangements are in place to take up emergency pumping from Himayatsagar from March 11 and Osmansagar from April 1. Drawls are expected to further come down by 2 mgd from both these sources.
The situation in the Singur reservoir is no better. Through gravity the present quantum of 75 mgd can be drawn up to April and with pumping the supplies will last till August. That is, provided the water is not released for irrigation purpose. There is a demand for release of 2.5 tmcft to meet irrigation requirements.
The Irrigation Department is asked to maintain a level of + 510 ft in Krishna. A drop of two feet will necessitate emergency pumping for which arrangements are under process.
Meanwhile, the ground water level in Hyderabad and surrounding areas is giving cause for worry. From November to December, the water level dropped by half metre and from December to January it registered a fall of one metre. In February it went down by 1.5 metres. “The groundwater table will sink further in the coming months as the drawls increase,” says J. Satyanarayana, Assistant Director, Ground Water Department.
The Board’s main worry is how to meet the shortfall during May. “There is no alternative but to reduce the supplies and ensure equitable distribution of water,” officials say.
With the level in Himayatsagar reservoir going down fast, the Board has increased the diversion of Krishna water from 2 mgd to 6 mgd to areas served by this reservoir. Supplies to bulk consumers, mostly industries, are also cut down by 15 per cent.
Interestingly, the government is yet to release Rs. 55 crore sought by the Water Board to meet the summer challenge. However, pending the sanction of funds, the Board is going ahead with the contingency action plan.
The Board has already installed 4 pump sets at Osmansagar and 3 at Himayatsagar to start emergency pumping from the dead storage when the level comes down to 1,762 ft and 1,740 ft respectively. The Board is also taking steps to improve the raw water quality in the twin reservoirs by removing excess colour, odour and other adverse quality changes. The IIT Kharagpur has been asked to monitor the raw water quality and take up bio-remediation studies, it is said.