Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Hussain Sagar Lake Cleaning: Still Unresolved Question

Hussain Sagar lake which was named after “Hussain Shaw Wali” is situated in the heart of Hyderabad city. It was built in 1550-1580 AD during the rule of Nizams. It served its purpose of drinking water source from 1854 to 1930. But after that, due to growth of urban area surrounding this lake, its water got polluted due to entry of untreated sewage and industrial effluent through the nallas that flow into the lake directly. Also, other sources of pollution included cattle washing, vehicle washing, dumping of domestic solid waste along the shore line as well as the immersion of large numbers of Ganesh and Durga Idols during festivals containing paints, clay, gypsum and plaster of Paris, flowers and garlands. Initially, the depth of lake was about 12.2 m but it has been now reduced to up to 5.02m only, because of sedimentation (Suneela et. al., 2008). Recently, the situation has become so worse that, the lake which was once source of drinking water, is now the source of bad odour in the surrounding area. You can smell the odor up to few kilometers depending on the wind direction and intensity. It is the good example of loss of important water resources because bad urbanization planning. Hyderbad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) launched “Hussain Sagar Lake and catchment area improvement project” in 2006.

Hussainsagar lake cleaning project was being taken up at a cost of Rs. 370 crore by HMDA with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. So far, Rs. 122 crore has been spent on the project but lot of things has to be done. The main objectives of this project are:

  • To maintain the round the year water balance in the lake
  • To improve the lake water quality by preventing pollutants entering into the lake both point source & non-point sources of pollution
  • Removal of nutrient rich sediments at lake bed
  • Interception & Diversion of dry weather flows, improvement of Nallas
  • To improve the overall lake environment and its surroundings for enriched biodiversity
  • Increasing the potentiality of eco-tourism

In order to achieve these objectives, HMDA installed seven fountains in 2004, to improve the water quality as well as to add the beauty to the lake. Each fountain can go up to the height of 20 meters and discharges about 160 m3 water per hour. The fountains were supposed to enhance the dissolved oxygen and improve the water quality. But if you look at current situation, it has not been completely successful. The continuous pollution of water body must be stopped.

The main component of this project is to control sewage from mixing in water and provide alternative path to sewerage lines through construction of a new 30 Mld Sewerage Treatment Plant at Picket Nalla, upgradation of Existing 20 MLD Hussain Sagar Sewerage Treatment Plant, construction of Ring Sewers around the Hussain Sagar Lake, construction of Small Sewerage Treatment Plant – 5 MLD at Ranghadhamini Cheruvu, recycled Water Supply Facilities, etc.

But in reality, the pollution levels in the water body are skyrocketing and even shrunk its water spread area by over 25%. In fact, records available with the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) show that the average pH level in Hussain Sagar lake that was not more than 8 (on average) before 2006, crossed the 8.5 point mark over the next few years and even touched 9 in 2011. Also, not a single Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is ready. Three of the major STPs (one with a capacity of 20 mld and two of 15 mld) are currently still under construction. According to plan, dredging/desilting of sediment was supposed to be completed by now. But because of dispute about the location for dumping of sediment in city, it has not proceeded further. Also, the construction of solid waste management facilities and public toilets proposals are still only on paper (Sengupta, 2012).

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh declared on 4th September 2011 that the lake cleaning work will be completed by 2013. And the water will be useful, at least for bathing purpose. This still seems to be difficult goal to achieve if the work will continue with this speed.


Sengupta, S. (2012): Clean Hussainsagar still a distant dream, a report in Times of India, Hyderabad 13-Jan-2012.

Suneela, M., Radha Krishna, G., Vamsi Krishna, K., Manga Sai, V., Bhargav, V., Syma Sundara Reddy, K., Srinivas, D. S. S. and J. S. Srinivas (2008): Water and Sediment Analysis of Hussain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad, Proceedings of Taal2007: The 12th World Lake Conference: 304-306.

Hemant Wakode
PhD Student, Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen. (GERMANY). Email: See all posts from Hemant Wakode

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