Hyderabad: The Musi Riverfront Development Corporation (MRDC) said it’s more viable to divert contaminated water than to construct sewerage treatment plants (STPs) in every water body.
Officials explained that the encroachments of the lakes in the city were making it difficult to identify spots to construct STPs. They claimed, however, that water from at least five water bodies could be collected in one massive water body with (enough space for) STPs and treated there.
A senior MRDC official said that instead of constructing STPs at every water body, the corporation has resolved to adopt the ‘cluster approach’, a proven model according to which, contaminated water from small and medium lakes is diverted to a huge lake and treated there. Accordingly, he said, STPs would be constructed in lakes spread over 1,000 acres, considering it was not only cost-effective but also a practical solution in urban areas.
Meanwhile, the lake cleaning and development project has delivered poorly in rural areas — it has neither improved groundwater levels nor rescued dwellers from the water crisis. This is clearly evident in the official report submitted by the Ground Water Department. Out of 32 districts, groundwater levels have depleted drastically in 26 districts.
According to the report, 18 districts in Telangana received deficit rainfall, and a shallow groundwater table of fewer than 5 metres below ground level (MBGL) was found across 2 per cent of the area of Telangana state — mostly covering erstwhile districts Adilabad, Nalgonda, Khammam, and Wanaparthy among others.
The state government, however, presented a different version. Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation chairman Mr V. Prakash said that the water levels, which had allegedly risen, dropped substantially again owing to the 24-hour power supply. He also said that farmers were irrigating 15 lakh acres in excess using five heavy water pumps.
“The deficit rainfall has also obviously contributed to the depletion of groundwater levels in the state. However, the excessive groundwater consumption by farmers, in cultivating water-intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane instead of wheat and cotton, plays a much bigger role.”
On the contrary, the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) scientists claimed that Mission Kakatiya was being done most unscientifically. They said that for effective seepage, the government must conduct a survey with geologists, however, the job has been handed over to contractors not sufficiently experienced to carry out the task effectively....