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Tradition botched

Hyderabad was founded in 1591 by Mohd Quli Qutub Shah on the banks of Musi river. The city has a glorious tradition of tanks built by the rulers.

The first source of water supply to Hyderabad was from Hussainsagar lake. Named after Hussain Shah Wali, the lake was built in 1562 on the tributary of Musi. It covered an area of 8 sq miles. In 1891, a slow-sand filter was set up in Narayanguda, and the lake was used to provide drinking water. The water of Hussainsagar was sufficient for the people of Hyderabad then.

Most of the tanks in Hyderabad were built by Qutub Shah (1564-1724 AD), and his successor Asaf Jahi (1724-1948 AD). As population grew, two other tanks, Himayatsagar (built in 1927) and Osamansagar (built in 1913) started supplying water to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, which were constructed to control floods after the 1908 inundation of the city.

Pollution and encroachment

Pollution levels in the tanks have been going up. Hussainsagar lake, which has recently been developed into a tourist centre by the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, stinks of sulphur fumes and is extremely filthy. The quality of Hussainsagar water has gradually deteriorated during the last 20-30 years, mainly owing to the continual ingress of untreated domestic sewage and industrial effluents.
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