The water problem in Hyderabad, the IT corridor of India, became a severe water crisis last year when all the four reservoirs that supply water to the city dried up for the first time in 30 years. Soaring mercury, scorching heat, and the falling ground water level further added to the woes of the Greater Hyderabad region, a home to over ten million people.
There was a serious apprehension about how the water situation in Hyderabad would turn out this year. Even as early as April, many areas of Hyderabad started facing acute water shortage, in spite of assurances given by the authorities.
The annual ordeal of the acute water crisis was expected to be no different this summer of 2017. Government officials said that traditional water supply sources — the Himayat Sagar, Osman Sagar, Singur, and Manjira reservoirs — no longer have sufficient supply of water, and that is why the city has to now rely on water supplies only from the Godavari and Krishna rivers.
Residents of Kukatpally, Miyapur, Madinaguda, Chandanagar, and several other colonies, and even residents in gated communities are having to spend as much as Rs.2,500 every month on water tankers. Though there are many localities across the city that are witnessing the shortage, most of these are in the western quadrant where rampant construction activities have hampered the natural source of water supply. Dammaiguda, Old Bowenpally, Karkhana, Miyapur, Hafizpet, Lingampalli, Chandanagar, Yousufguda and KPHB are few of these areas where the water shortage has been regularly reported. Gachibowli and Madhapur are some of the posh pockets where people are dependent on water tankers. Some areas where the situation is a little better are Vanasthalipuram, Sainikpuri, Balaji Nagar etc.
Major Steps by the Government Radically Improved the Situation
A good monsoon and certain positive steps by the authorities prevented the situation from going out of control. This year the government launched a massive drive to install water meters to minimise water wastage which raised the awareness of the citizens. This drive enabled citizens to monitor their water usage and control it, apart from making everyone to realise that water is a costly resource to be squandered upon.
Moreover, the authorities are in the process of commissioning another 12 reservoirs which will massively reduce water scarcity in the city, especially in Gopanpally, Nallagandla, Hafeezpet, Shapurnagar and other peripheral areas. Some of them are already commissioned.
End of the Water Problem in Hyderabad is in Sight
The drinking water problem in Hyderabad may soon become a thing of the past, with the State government fast-tracking works on construction of two massive drinking water reservoirs close to the city. The reservoirs, each capable of storing 20 tmcft, would take care of the water requirements of the burgeoning population of not only the twin cities but also surrounding villages.
The need for the reservoirs was felt when the two major drinking water sources for the city – Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar – began drying up, partly due to encroachments, and shrinking storage capacities not enough for the increasing demand. The State government decided to have the two new reservoirs near Keshavapuram in Shamirpet Mandal of Ranga Reddy district and Malkapuram village of Choutuppal Mandal in Yadadri Bhongir district.
Once water is tapped for these reservoirs and they reach storage capacity, it will be enough for three years. The project will also ensure drinking water supply for the next 50 years.
The two new reservoirs would eliminate the drinking water problem not only for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority areas but also take care of about 60-100 villages abutting the Outer Ring Road, even if Manjira and Singur dry up.
The Residents’ Responsibility to Fix the Water Crisis in Hyderabad
Fast-track industrialisation, a boom in the city’s population, and a sharp rise in the demand of water for both commercial as well as domestic purposes have all led to a greater consumption and shortage of water. However, at the same time, there isn’t enough recharge to compensate this excess intake. There can be two feasible approaches to counter the intense water crisis. One short-term, and the other long-term. Short term measures can be like arranging more tankers, cracking down on water mafia, and putting up meters in every house so that the usage of water can be tracked and charged accordingly. This will decrease the usage considerably.
There are residential colonies where residents have now installed additional bore-wells to meet the daily water needs. This has resulted in further reduction of the water level, ultimately drying up the wells. This process is detrimental to the water table and cannot be a reliable solution.
A sustainable long-term road map can be laid to effectively treat the wastewater generated from households and industrial complexes so that it can be put to use for useable purposes. In addition, there should be a government ruling to install rainwater harvesting structures and water recycling plants in every new apartment that comes up in the city. The government should also make people aware of the cost-effective techniques and benefits of rainwater harvesting so that the existing apartments and households feel encouraged to set up the facility. Introducing these conventional methods can be extremely viable in dealing with the water crisis without getting too heavy on pockets.