HYDERABAD: Urban sprawl has caused 2,999 water bodies to disappear in the city between 2005 and 2016. From 5,011 water bodies in 2005, the number plunged to 2,012 in 2016 —that means a whopping 60 per cent of water bodies have disappeared in the last ten years. This according to a study conducted by a group of scientists as part of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR’s) research programmes.Not surprisingly, the vanishing of waterbodies is directly proportional to the drastic urbanisation the city has been witnessing over the last decade. According to data, the city saw a 106 per cent increase in built-up area over the last decade. Seasonal waterbodies in western, central and southern parts of the city surpassing the ORR were the ones mostly exploited by the growth of industries and housing projects.
The intensive urbanisation, in the form of buildings, housing and other establishments, are mostly concentrated in the western and eastern parts of the city that includes places like Gachibowli, Madhapur, Nanakramguda, Jodimetla, and Hayath Nagar. The sudden boom in IT sector in the city followed by other industries like food, pharma and manufacturing has been cited as the reason for the phenomenon.
Interestingly, irrigated cropland has marginally increased over the decade. However, polluted water from Musi river is being mostly used for such purposes. Murali Krishna Gumma, Head, Remote Sensing Lab, ICRISAT and one of the researcher observed that vegetative cover has reduced in the city. “The vegetative cover from 2005 slowly started to fall down and the little that is left is being irrigated by waste-water from Musi,” he observed. Croplands being cultivated along the bank of river Musi include places like Peerzadigudda, Ramanthapur and other places.
He added that many farmers are switching professions and moving into the city.
Meanwhile, the loss of water bodies adversely affected the rain-fed croplands in the city. Only 37,908 ha of rainfed cropland is available of 72,817 ha that was there in 2005 at an alarming drop of 52 percent in a single decade. The cropland includes fallow, shrubs, scrubland, and grass.