Working Paper No. 60 September 2004
Being located in the Deccan Plateau region, Hyderabad city has been dotted with a number of lakes, which formed very important component of its physical environment. With the increasing control of the State and private agencies over the years, and rapid urban sprawl of the city, many of the water bodies have been totally lost. Many have been shrunk in size while the waters of several lakes got polluted with the discharge of untreated domestic and industrial effluents. This study makes an attempt to analyse the transformation of common property resources (the lakes) into private property. The adverse consequences of the loss of water bodies are felt in the steep decline in water table and the resultant water crisis in several areas. Further, the severity of flooding that was witnessed in August 2000 was also due to a reduction in the carrying capacity of lakes and water channels. The State has not bothered to either implement the existing laws or pay attention to the suggestions of environmental organisations in this regard. The paper argues that in this process of loss of water bodies in Hyderabad, the State is as much responsible as private agencies in terms of the policies that it has formulated and the lack of ensuring legislation and implementation.