• Satellite data exposes government claims
  • Use of earmarked Rs 360 crore remains unknown

Hyderabad: Satellite data of Hussain Sagar Lake shows how one of the oldest man-made lakes of peninsular India has shrunk due to encroachments over decades. When the main threat to the lake is encroachment, it also faces the problem of pollution due to the continuous emission of toxic industrial chemicals and untreated domestic sewage. Over the years, the lake has shrunk by about 40 % of its original size (550 ha to 349 ha).

Encroachment in Hussain Sagar Source: Pradeep Goud Macharla

According to GHMC’s latest official map, the Prasads IMax theatre is right inside the Full Tank Level (FTL) of Hussain Sagar. Similarly the Necklace Road is inside the FTL of the lake and it has cut the lake into two pieces. On the left side you will see several ponds that are cut off from the sagar. This is why when there are rains, the water is on the road and not flowing into the lake.

Similar is the case with Kukatpallu inflow channel of Hussain Sagar where one can witness multiple landfills and huge constructions such as HTTP and LTT. At People’s Plaza there is a huge land fill inside the lake. The Telangana Martyrs’ statue constructed near Lumbini Park is also on an encroached land. Boat club next to Buddhapurnima has its parking area inside the sagar.

Comparitive Satellite Images of 15 June 2019 with 2 May 2019

Satellite Image Hussain Sagar 1

Satellite Image Of Hussain Sagar 2

Earlier this month, National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered Telangana government, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority and Telangana State Pollution Control Board to submit status report showing the present status of water quality in the lake and the nature of work so far by January 22, 2020.

Lubna Sarwath, a Hyderabad-based activist said, “It is very disappointing that Government of Telangana and its agencies governing the lake have to be told by Courts and Tribunals on how to maintain lakes and how to do their duty.”

Hussain Sagar restoration case of April 2015 was filed in National Green Tribunal.

Over the years, toxic froth has spread across the inflow channels and outflow channels of Hussain Sagar. The flows from the entire catchment area are fed into the Hussian Sagar by four major streams-Kukatpally, Picket, Banjara Hills and Balkapur. Today, all these four channels carry industrial, domestic, pharma, human pathogens, carcinogenic and nano-plastic pollutants into the sagar

Earlier, the natural steam network formed in the catchment area use to bring the runoff all along the course into the lake. With urbanization in catchment area and all along these nallas, now sewage is flowing.

Hussain Sagar Channel 1                                                                                              Frothing of Hussain Sagar at first outflow channel in front of hotel Marriot


Hussain Sagar Channel 2                                                                                  Toxic waste and froth from second outflow channel of Hussain Sagar at the threshold of GHMC office

Kukatpally nalla is the main feeding channel which brings in about 58% of dry weather flow into the lake.

Despite sewage treatment plant and central effluent treatment plants, a considerable amount of untreated sewage flows into the lake.

“You can see white foam right at the door of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) head office, where the second outflow channel is situated,” Ms Sarwath said.

The condition of the first outflow channel of Hussain Sagar located next to Marriot Hotel is also nevertheless same. Thick white foam can be seen flowing out from this channel.

“The first step to be taken to revive a lake is to stop the inflow of solid and liquid pollution. A simple question to the State Government is about what you did with the Rs 360 crore that was allotted for revival of Hussain Sagar,” she wondered.

A high level source told NewsMeter, “From 2008 onwards a project has been taken up on Hussain Sagar and as a part of it, water quality has improved. Telangana State Pollution Control Board is regularly monitoring the water quality and the figures show a marked improvement.”

(Image courtesy: Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL))

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

One comment on "Hussain Sagar Lake is shrinking at an alarming rate, reveals satellite data"

  • Thank you Dheeshma for your story on the Hussain Sagar. I have been living in Hyderabad for above 52 & 1/2 years. The Hussain Sagar which I saw as a very young school student is no where in sight. It is one fourth of its original size & filthy to the core. Both the members of the public & the various governments of the day at different times have happily plundered the lake to their hearts’ content. I don’t need to repeat. When we stood on the Tank Bund side, we used to see what looked almost like an ocean. It was clean with no water hyacinths, no garbage or waste material. There was a lot of fish in the transparent water which was not so horribly turbid & stinking like it is today. When the train moved from Secunderabad station to Nampally station, we kept the door open to enjoy watching the water almost touching the railway line. Immediately after the railway line was the lake. The other side was the Raj Bhavan road. There was no wall on the side of the road for a long time. The encroachment began with the Khairatabad flyover & the grounds on either side of the NTR Marg, then encroachments through the Madarsa Maktha encroachments & once the Necklace Road came up, our dear Hussain Sagar was in total danger. Now we are waiting for the lake to turn into a cross road perhaps. Anything is possible. Crores of money have been used. Neither the lake is getting cleaner nor the stink disappearing. Where is the money going? Please SAVE our Hussain Sagar. It is one of our important residents of Hyd. Nobody has the right to just destroy one of the prides of our city.

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