A study has revealed that the combined water spread under the basins of three lakes which served as major watersheds for Hyderabad city and surrounding areas, has come down by 40% between 1978 and 2013.
The technical report titled ‘Documenting disappearing water bodies of Hyderabad City’, prepared by the Society for Participatory Development and submitted to the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in March this year, revealed that a total of 27 lakes and kuntas under Himayat Sagar, Umda Sagar and Miralam Tank systems have totally disappeared during this period.
On the verge
More than 10 tanks are presently on the verge of disappearance.
Water spread in the 22 lakes and tanks in the cascade of the Himayatsagar lake, has reduced from 2081 hectares in 1978 to 1223 hectares in 2017, clocking a cut of 41.22%. What is more alarming is the fact that eight such lakes are now on the verge of extinction. Four have disappeared altogether.
In case of 27 water bodies within the Umda Sagar cascade, the spread has come down to 134 hectares in 2017 from the 236 hectares in 1978.
A staggering 14 lakes, all in Saroornagar mandal, have disappeared due to rapid urbanisation, while two are disappearing.
The water spread has come down from 207 hectares to 164 hectares in 21 water bodies under Miralam Tank cascade. A total of nine tanks have disappeared.
Presenting the report at a workshop in the presence of officials from Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB), K.S.Rajan, the Head, Lab for Spatial Informatics (LSI), International Institute of Information Technology, attributed the shrinkage of the basin area to rapid urbanisation, dumping of garbage, letting of effluents into the water bodies, encroachments and other reasons.
S.Q.Masood, who carried out the survey, said the three lakes were chosen for the pilot study as they served as major watersheds for the Hyderabad city.
Speaking to the media, V.Prakash Rao, the chairman of the Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation, said a high level meeting on protection of lakes convened under ministers K.T.Rama Rao and T.Harish Rao has decided to improve one lake each in the 24 constituencies, as pilot project.
TWRDC will act as the nodal agency for the same.
Director, Urban Forestry, HMDA, S.Srinivas said that there were 4,800 lakes under HMDA and all were under encroachment.
Boundaries have been marked for 2,800 lakes so far. He stressed the importance of focussing on the protection of existing spread of the water bodies, rather than squabbling over lost area.