HYDERABAD: The Osmansagar (Gandipet) and Himayatsagar water reservoirs, the only source of drinking water that meets drinking needs of the twin cities for about nine decades now, may soon become unfit for its purpose, thanks to the presence of large quantities of fishes and prawns in these two lakes which are being illegally stocked by the local fishermen and others.
Clandestine prawn and fish culture activities have being going at these water bodies, affecting the water quality as the State Government and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) has been failing to protect these lakes. The present productivity of the reservoir has been recorded as very low due to the illegal stocking and indiscriminate fishing.
Alarmed by these activities, the Water Board requested the Fisheries department to assess the fishery wealth in these two lakes, following which the commissioner of Fisheries constituted a committee for the assessment.
A few months ago, the committee made an assessment for the quantity of fishery wealth with data collected from the trial netting conducted by the professional fishermen and information was collected from the local fishermen as to the levels of quantities of fish and juvenile prawns.
Around Osmansagar lake, as many as 600 active fishermen have been involved in unauthorised fishing in about six villages including Khanapur, Aziznagar, Kokapet, Gunugurthy, Chandanagar and Chilkur.
The fishermen residing in the villages existing in the periphery of the reservoir have stocked insufficient quantity of seed to fish illegally. The seed was not stocked as per the capacity of the reservoir and there is no control on the reservoir to monitor the stocking of the seed, survival rate, growth and fishing also.
Similarly in Himayatsagar lake, about 300-400 active fishermen have been fishing unauthorised in villages of Himayatsagar, Aziznagar, Nagureddyguda, Bakaram, Venkatapur, Nadikuda and Kothaguda.
The fishermen have stocked about 12 lakh of juvenile prawns and 8 lakh of fingerlings in the lake in August last year while the required quantity of fish seed and juvenile prawn for the lake’s survival is around four lakh and six lakhs respectively.
The reservoirs have about 27 species of algae, 31 species of zooplankton and 17 species of fishes. This situation has been exacerbated by perceptible changes in the monsoon pattern over the last 25 years, while both reservoirs are exhibiting signs of eutrophication for want of sewage treatment facilities serving the urbanisation littoral villages.
The Water Board resolved to catch the fishery wealth from the two lakes by auctioning the wealth, approximately around `40 lakhs. On three occasions, the Water Board invited bids but the response was lukewarm.