Besides being a renowned city ruled by the Nizams, Hyderabad has infamous distinction as a one having scarcity of water. Though the city is endowed with man-made water bodies like osmansagar, Himayathsagar, Manjira barrage, etc., the growing size of the city and increasing population have led to increased requirement of water. Water scarcity in the city has been experienced since mid-1980s with the citizens getting municipal water supply on alternate days.
It is also likely that the two sources Himayathsagar and Osmansagar are going to dry up by 2036 and 2040 respectively because of increased urbanisation. Recent reports in 2011-12 show that ground water level in the city has dropped significantly below the 10 meter mark, worst ever in the last decade. With this, we fear a drastic water shortage for both drinking and usage water in the city in the years to come.
Rain water Harvesting (RWH)
Taking the issue seriously, many expert environmentalists and geographers are highlighting the need for Rain Water Harvesting in the city. Rain water harvesting involves depositing rain water in the ground, so that groundwater levels remain high. But as these days, cement is used extensively in constructions, rain water can no longer seep into the ground and hence a special system needs to be installed to collect the rain water.
RWH made mandatory in Hyderabad
The AP Government has made it mandatory to install Rain water harvesting systems in all new buildings with an area of 300 sq. meters and more, long back in 2001, but it remains only on paper. Though the house owners are submitting building plans with RWH to get it approved they are not implementing the same plan while constructing the building.
GHMC’s latest move to construct RWH structures
After observing the depleting ground water levels in many parts of the city, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is now planning to construct 6,000 plus rain water harvesting structures or pits in more than 23,000 houses across the twin cities in one year. However, the pits will be built in houses constructed after 2005 and which have got water connections thereafter. Only the buildings built on 200 sq. yards or more will be covered under the programme.
Hyderabadi surviving without a water connection
A resident of Champapet, by profession a geographer, environmentalist and founder of an NGO called Research in Environment Education and Development Society has been harvesting rain water for the past 17 years. His family with five members only use the harvested water for all their cooking and drinking purposes. His 340 sq. yard premises has 100sq. yards of built-up area. In the open space, he built a RWH structure in about 430 sq. ft to collect rain water. The tank in which water is stored has a capacity of 5,400 litres. The family never faced water shortage in all these years.
Appreciating the efforts of this geographer, the State government made a short documentary on him and screened it in cinemas across the State to educate people on the benefits of rain water harvesting.