How govt plans to deal with impending water crisis in Hyderabad

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: Amid concerns over declining water levels in reservoirs across the state, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) is undertaking alternative measures to ensure uninterrupted drinking water supply to the city.

With the water levels in the reservoir fast depleting, HMWS&SB authorities are finding alternative arrangements to draw water. It involves setting up separate motors and establishing an electricity supply system to operate these motors effectively.

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The Yellampalli project, apart from catering to irrigation needs, plays a vital role in supplying drinking water to Hyderabad, Mission Bhagiratha, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), and Ramagundam Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (RFCL). Currently, approximately 56 cusecs (0.03 TMC) of water is drawn daily with the aid of six motors, each with a capacity of 6.6 KV, and supplied to the state capital.

However, concerns arise as pumping water from the project becomes unfeasible below 138.3 meters. Presently, the reservoir level is at 141.75 meters (7.08 TMC) of water, which is projected to decrease to 138.3 meters by April-end.

More motors for Yellampalli project

To address this issue, HMWS&SB authorities have initiated the construction of a 1.8 km earthen road leading up to the head regulator near gravity canal. Additionally, 25 motors, each with a capacity of 125 HP, are being installed at the project site to facilitate water extraction.

To power these motors, electricity transformers have been installed, along with electric wires equipped with a capacity of 100 conductors, fixed to 11 electric poles. The water drawn through temporary motors will be channeled into HMWS&SB’s gravity canal and subsequently supplied to Hyderabad using regular motors.

This process is slated to commence within the next 20 days, with provisions also being made to supply water to RFCL and Mission Bhagiratha from the gravity canal.

Speaking to a local daily, executive engineer of the Yellampalli Project stressed on the necessity of these alternative measures due to the continued decline in water levels. Currently, the project reservoir contains 7.08 TMC (141.75 meters) of water, significantly lower than its storage capacity of 20.175 (148 meters).

Deployment of mini water tankers, fine for wastage

Following the severe water crisis, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) has decided to deploy its new fleet of 170 mini water tankers to ensure faster delivery of water to consumers. Each tanker will have a capacity of 2,500 liters.

As of now, the water board delivers supply to consumers through tankers of various capacities, including 5,000 liters, 10,000 liters, and 25,000 liters. With its existing 540 registered tankers, the board added another 300 private tankers to meet the city’s drinking water demand. The number will touch 100 after the 170 tankers are added to the fleet.

Moreover, the authorities have also announced a fine of Rs 5,000 for houses and residential apartments found wasting drinking water by leaving taps open and tanks overflowing. According to sources, officials of the civic bodies will inspect residential areas every morning to check whether water is being let out on the roads irresponsibly.

Emergency pumping from Nagarjuna Sagar

Meanwhile, in another development, with water levels at 509 feet, one foot below the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) in the Nagarjuna Sagar Project, preparations are underway for emergency pumping operations starting Monday, April 15. This move aims to address the imminent water scarcity and meet the drinking water requirements of Hyderabad.

Efforts are being made to install pumps for emergency pumping from the Nagarjuna Sagar Project, with two pumps scheduled for immediate operation and two additional pumps to be installed subsequently. The River Management Board has allotted 8.5 TMC of water to the state to support drinking water needs during the summer season.

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The state will need approximately 1.6 TMC of water per month to sustain the water supply system in Hyderabad and its surrounding areas.

The situation is anticipated to deteriorate further by May 5 if there are no emergency releases from upstream sources. Water levels in the Srisailam project have also dropped below the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) of 834 ft.

State government officials are in communication with Karnataka to request releases from the Narayanpur dam. Additionally, preparations are underway to extract water from the Singur project.

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