Hyderabad rains: Himayat Sagar floodgates opened

Incessant rains in Hyderabad for over 24 hours has led to flooding and subsequent loss of life and property in several parts. The city saw its worst October rains in a 100 years, about 200 mm.

Moses Tulasi October 15, 2020 19:55:38 IST

Incessant rains in Hyderabad for over 24 hours has led to flooding and subsequent loss of life and property in several parts. The city saw its worst October rains in a 100 years, about 200 mm.

The Himayat Sagar dam reached its full reservoir level of 1764 feet. “13 out of 17 gates were opened on Wednesday to a height of 5 feet each, releasing about 25000 cusecs of outflow,” confirmed G. Girish, a Work Inspector for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

Another employee, D. Baswaraj said the last time the gates were opened was 10 years ago but it wasn’t these many gates. Several enthusiastic people gathered at the entrance of the dam but were turned away by the security. Devi Bai, a jawar-roti street vendor was happy about both the water levels and her business for the day.

Himayat Sagar was named after the eldest son of the last ruling Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. It is one of two dams (the other being Osman Sagar) taken up by the Nizam after the devastating Musi River flood of 1908 that claimed 15,000 lives. Built primarily to prevent flooding, the two reservoirs have also satiated the drinking water needs of the city for decades.

On the flipside, damming the Musi that drastically controlled the flow of water, eventually led to encroachments and turned into a dump yard for industrial waste and sewage.

Himayat Sagar dams the tributary stream Esi (named after prophet Esa/Jesus) while Osman Sagar dams the main stream of Musi (named after prophet Musa/Moses). Both were completed between 1920 and 1927 under the chief architect Sir M. Visvesvaraya of Mysore assisted by Ali Nawaz Jung Bahadur, whose birthday is celebrated as Telangana Engineers’ day.

Musi and Esi serve as an allegory to the syncretic culture of Hyderabad, the meeting point of whom, the “sangam”, is considered sacred by the Hindus who used to take a bath there on auspicious occasions.

Musi starts in Anathagiri Hills in Vikarabad district and flows for about 240 kms, entirely in Telangana, before merging into the Krishna River. The citizens of the state eagerly await the Musi revival project that has been promised by the TRS government ever since the formation of the new state in 2014.

According to reports, the downpour has claimed at least 19 lives in the city and many people are still missing. On Wednesday, the MET department issued a yellow alert for the city. Wednesday and Thursday were declared a holiday by the state government for all private institutions, offices, non-essential services within Outer Ring Road in view of rains.

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