HYDERABAD: While the low-lying areas in the State capital stood on the brink of being inundated due to recent heavy to extremely heavy rains, former Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) director and Immediate Chairman of the Institution of Engineers (India), Telangana State Centre, Dr G Rameshwar Rao in an interview with B Kartheek felt that what was of utmost importance is to address the problem of the stormwater drains not being able to cope with the sudden influx of floodwater because they are not maintained properly.
He said that the entire infrastructure in place to drain out rainwater should be in proper condition like sewerage, stormwater channels and the Musi riverfront. He suggested that denizens refrain from polluting the city as it potentially causes climate change.
Why is the city unable to cope even with moderate rainfall?
Hyderabad city was designed only to cater to the needs of around 5 lakh people. However, due to growing urbanisation, the population has crossed over 1 crore. In the process, the people have encroached Musi riverfront and some water bodies. Now, when it rains heavily, there is no way for the water to flow out.
Hyderabad has a naturally evolved storm water drain system around the Musi river, but the encroachments stand in between now.
It seems that the government is facing some impediments in clearing the encroachments. At this juncture what would be the way to deal with the floodwater?
The government should make the construction of rainwater injection bore wells in private and public areas mandatory. There should be a layout-level sustainable stormwater management plan within the city. There is a need to study the existing stormwater and sewerage network in the city and to develop a holistic approach rather than adopting a piecemeal solution for the sustainable development of stormwater management in the city.
What needs to be done to improve the stormwater drainage system?
The city has several Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), and Interceptor Sewage System, which would divert sewage from the Musi river. Hyderabad is doing far better when compared to any other city in the country in terms of handling flood waters. However, the lack of maintenance of these infrastructure projects led to the stagnation of rainwater in the low-lying areas for hours together.
The maintenance works should be done from time to time without a miss. The existing storm water drains require to be widened to take the increased flood intensity. Also, the citizens should act responsibly to reduce carbon pollution.