HYDERABAD: Even as drinking water shortage looms large over the State capital, now it transpires that Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs, main sources of drinking water supply to the twin cities for about 100 years, are polluted. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB), which had been claiming all along that water from the two reservoirs was safe for drinking purposes, has received a rude shock with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), confirming the worst fears of citizens.
NEERI, Nagpur, which was entrusted with the task of studying the environmental aspects of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs, conducted a survey for about a year and submitted its draft final report to HMWS&SB Managing Director Adhar Sinha and other Board officials a couple of days back.
The report, running into 200 pages, and titled, “Environmental Ma n a g eme n t P l a n for Osmansagar and Himayatsagar Reservoirs in Hyderabad”, contains several recommendations for cleaning up the polluted reservoirs.
“If immediate steps are taken by the water board, the water in the reservoirs could be made safe for drinking purposes,” the report says.
In other words, failure to act now could make water in these reservoirs unfit for consumption.
Speaking to City Express, HMWS&SB officials confirmed that NEERI had submitted the draft final report with recommendations to revive the polluted reservoirs.
The draft report was presented by Ravinder Rao and M K Reddy, Senior Principal Scientists of NEERI, Zonal office, Hyderabad, last Friday.
NEERI had tested samples taken from different depths during different seasons over the last one year.
Officials explained that it had carried out an ecological assessment of the reservoirs with various parameters such as biotic, abiotic, lake sediments aspects, heavy metal accumulation, ivy fauna, water turbidity and other aspects.
The recommendations made by NEERI include cutting of trees within the Full Tank Level (FTL) as and when they surface to the ground level, identification of non-point sources of pollutants including fertilisers, toxic pesticides and other chemicals from agriculture lands nearby.
It further calls for identification and prevention of entry of domestic waste waters and other point sources of pollution into the lakes from the laboratory located in the catchments areas.
“Panchayats and municipal activities should be directed to stop domestic water flow into the lakes.
There should be a complete ban on fishing, bathing and washing and regulation of Anthropogenic activities around the two reservoirs,” it recommends.
NEERI also suggests regular monitoring of the lakes, introduction of aerators, prevention of further pollution by laying intercepting and diversion lines and treating water entering into the lakes, construction of a ring sewer and construction of Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) to prevent waste water from flowing into the lakes.
The officials said the draft final report will be discussed threadbare in the second week of March by the water board engineers and other stakeholders for taking action.
* Cut trees within Full Tank Level (FTL) as and when they surface to ground level * Identification of non-point sources of pollutants including fertilisers, toxic pesticides and other chemicals from agriculture lands nearby.
* Prevention of entry of domestic waste water and other sources of pollution into the lakes from the laboratory located in catchments areas * Directive to civic bodies to stop domestic water flow into the lakes, ban fishing, bathing and washing and regulate anthropogenic activities around the two reservoirs * Regular monitoring of the lakes * Introduction of aerators, intercepting and diversion lines, construction of a ring sewer and Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) to prevent waste water from flowing into the lakes