GO 111: Protecting water sources of Hyderabad

THE HANS INDIA |   Jan 03,2017 , 04:44 AM IST

A view of  Osman Sagar, Hyderabad
A view of Osman Sagar, Hyderabad

For the last few days, the hot topic in media had been the NGT (National Green Tribunal) order on GO111 with reference to a petition asking for the easing of GO 111.  The GO relates to “twin lakes,” namely Osmansagar and Himayatsagar. It is a “Gold Mine” for the violators of GO 111. Telangana government is reported to have informed the NGT that it is in favour reviewing it. 

  • It lists mandatory steps to protect Osmansagar and Himayatsagar
  • Telangana told National Green Tribunal it wants to review it
What the GO says

  • GO Ms.No. 50 MA (28.01.1989): Protect the hydrological regime as envisaged in the original reservoirs construction plans of the catchment areas through prohibiting the interception of any inflows of water into the lakes, removal of unauthorized check-dams, prohibiting tapping of groundwater in these catchment areas; preventing unauthorized occupation of land, etc. 
  • GO Ms.No.192 MA (31-03-1994):  Prohit establishment of any polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment within 10 km radius from the Full Tank Levels [FTLs] of the two lakes based on Technical Committee’s interim report.  
  • GO Ms.No.111 MA dated 08-03-1996 was issued by combining the two GOs, based on the second report of an expert committee after detailed discussions and field visits. It relates to protection of both quantity and quality of flows into the lakes. It places curbs on developments which affect inflows into the lakes or water quality in the catchment areas

Hyderabad gets its drinking water from Krishna, Godavari, Singuru-Manjeera and twin lakes which supply 270 MGD (millions gallons per day), 172 MGD, 120 MGD and 40 MGD respectively. Twin lakes, in addition, provide more than 40 MGD from groundwater. The twin lakes water is available at Rs 2 per kilolitre but the same from Godavari is more than 30 and from Krishna it is more than 18.  

Following the 1908 September floods to River Musi, on the advice of the legendry Engineer, Sir Mokshagundam Visveswarayya, constructed Osmansagar (1913-1918) on the river Musi and Himayatsagar (1920-1927) on Easi, a tributary to Musi River, to contain floods and to provide drinking water to twin cities, spread over 10,000 acres. Since 1930 this water is used for drinking as Hussainsagar Lake (built in 1561 – though Hyderabad formed in 1592) – hitherto serving the drinking water needs to twin cities – was contaminated by domestic sewage. 

Later, the government noticed affecting the quantity and quality of flows in to the two lakes. To address them, it issued a series of GOs. The first one G.O. Ms.No. 50 MA dated 28.01.1989 was issued to protect the hydrological regime as envisaged in the original reservoirs construction plans of the catchment areas through prohibiting the interception of any inflows of water into the lakes, removal of unauthorised check-dams, prohibiting tapping of groundwater in these catchment areas; preventing unauthorised occupation of land, etc. 

The second one, G.O.Ms.No.192 MA dated 31-03-1994 was issued prohibiting the establishment of any polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment within 10 km radius from the Full Tank Levels [FTLs] of the two lakes based on Technical Committee’s interim report.  

The third one G.O.Ms.No.111 MA dated 08-03-1996 was issued by combining the two GOs based on the second report of the expert committee after detailed discussions and field visits. That means GO111 relates to protection of both quantity and quality of flows into the lakes. The land use of about 90% of the area is classified as agriculture which is inclusive of horticulture and floriculture.

In the reaming 10% of the zone, identified 84 villages  and were notified as prohibited zones wherein polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution are prohibited; and polluting industries are prohibited within the 10 km radius from FTLs, i.e., both upstream and downstream side to prevent acidification of lakes (due to air pollution).  

Based on the reports from EPTRI [appointed by the government as per G.O.Rt.No.952 MA&UD dated 29-11-2005] and a Technical Committee [appointed by APPCB], the government issued regulatory measures for downstream zone such as no development will be allowed up to 500 m from the bunds/FTLs and the same shall be declared as prohibited zone; beyond 500 m and up to 1000 m, only low rise residential development (ground + 2 floors) will be allowed, etc similar to those allowed in 84 villages.

After issuing GO111, the very same government in violation of GO111 permitted hazardous industry in the prohibited zone. Environmental groups approached AP High Court but in its July 1997 order supported the government’s action. Then environmental groups approached the Supreme Court, which in its landmark judgment dated 01-12-2000 [APPCB versus (Late) Prof. M.V.Naiudu] set aside the AP High Court order and brought in precautionary principle.

Precautionary principle means “prevention measures” rather than “control measures.” On this order, the government constituted a high-power committee and identified polluting industries and issued closer orders. (Late) Prof. Naidu and I were the members of the APPCB’s Task Force Committee, which executed this Task; and later stopped coming up new industries in this zone as a member of CFE committee of APPCB. (Writer is Convenor, Forum for a Sustainable Environment)

By Dr S Jeevananda Reddy



Stay updated on the go with The Hans India News App. Click for Android / iOS download it for your device.