Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Water Resources in Hyderabad – A Short Overview

The past rulers and kings of Hyderabad used a lot of resources in their time to create large reservoirs along the River Musi to supply the growing needs of water for the city of Hyderabad. They never would have thought that in the future, the growth of the city will become the reason for destruction of the various water sources of the city, both manmade and natural. Destroying or polluting the locally available water resources when the water needs of a megacity like Hyderabad is continuously increasing is simply unintelligent.

Vulnerable Water

Usage of drainage area and catchment area for buildings is not just destroying the lakes but also is making the city very vulnerable to natural calamities like floods. Also, reduction of drainage area and catchment area severely affects the groundwater resources since they will not get recharged by the surface water bodies. The government’s solution is to create huge hydel projects to bring water from hundreds of kilometers away, but this just solves only one part of the city’s problems and in result causes new problems elsewhere. Many lakes have shrunk in size and those lakes which are still there are used to dump large quantities of industrial effluents and untreated domestic sewage. This has caused the water quality of Musi River to degrade drastically. Musi River water has become a cocktail of industrial effluents plus domestic sewage and is used in the villages downstream for irrigation purposes. It is very essential that the policy makers look into the big picture, just like the past Kings of the city used to. In an area where there are 169 lakes with average area of more than 50 hectares of each lake, there should not be a need to bring all the potable water from Krishna River. There are definite solutions; only thing needed is determination and complete awareness of the governing bodies.


Waste Water Often Ends in the Various Reservoirs of the City, Also From Middle or Upper Class Housing Areas

Because of rapid, unplanned and haphazard urbanization of the city of Hyderabad, most of the sewage and waste of the city ends up in the various reservoirs of the city and finally ends up flowing in the River Musi. The Musi River and the associated reservoirs which were once the lifeline of the city have now become sewer drains. Nearly all of the Industrial effluents and the sewage of the entire city is dumped in either the various reservoirs of the city or in the Musi river. When such polluted water gets soaked up by the ground below, it makes the groundwater of the city polluted as well. Also, because of construction of buildings on and around the catchment areas and the natural drainage areas, the River Musi doesn’t get enough water to flow through it. So, most of the water flowing through the river consists of waste water which is dumped in the river. Again, when this cocktail of industrial effluents and sewage reaches the villages downstream of the Musi River, it is used for irrigation. There may not always be a strong relationship between the concentrations of trace elements in soils and plants, but there always exists a strong relationship between their concentrations in irrigational water and plants. When such polluted water is used for irrigation, the various toxic elements present in the water will get absorbed in the plants as well and then those plants are then consumed by the people and hence the pollutants enter the food chain. The governing bodies should enforce strictly the policy of one taking responsibility of one’s own wastes. The private companies which have industries in the area should not be allowed to dump wastes without proper treatment. If the damage to the natural drainage system is repaired and the catchment areas are protected, nature itself will rejuvenate the Musi River and the reservoirs.

  1. Hi shikhar.. Myself santosh from hyd, student of jntu hyderabad.. The information which you gave about the pollution in river musi is gud. But can you tel me few places where the industries are dumping the effluents waste in the river to take water sample or the places to collect the water samples for lab test for trace metals. Have to done any project by collection water samples..

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