Hussain Sagar Living Waters Project


Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

This project aims to restore Hussain Sagar lake by desilting, solid waste removal and implementing nature based solutions and blue green infrastructures for improved water quality and ecosystem outcomes (such as biodiversity enhancement, flooding and microclimate control, groundwater recharge). The project also aims to develop safe, continuous and universally accessible pedestrian and non-motorised transport infrastructure for making the area healthy, inclusive and equitable.


  • Transport & Mobility
  • Urban Infill & Public Space
  • Waste Management
  • Water & Sanitation
Funding Goal
Asia and the Pacific


With the Hussain Sagar Living Waters Project, the city of Hyderabad’s ambition is to restore Hussain Sagar for improved water quality and ecosystem outcomes (such as biodiversity enhancement, flooding and microclimate control, groundwater recharge) and reconnect citizens with this thriving blue-green asset in healthy, inclusive and equitable fashion. The project also aims to build on existing opportunities and offerings of past attempts at its revitalization and have an integrated approach towards its restoration and enhancement. Other objectives include:

  • Establish a world destination
  • Restore a functioning urban ecological lake ecosystem
  • Connect the entire circumference for pedestrians and bikes
  • Provide additional community activities and f&b for locals and tourists alike
  • Control the ceremonial offerings within the lake
  • Celebrate and enhance the existing tourist sites
  • Ensure a safe water edge
  • Create large waterfront parklands which serves Hyderabad better

Progress Tracker


  • Phase 1 (Completed)

    Development of a Visioning Document, Master Plan and Detailed Project Report

  • Phase 2

    Implementation of Blue Green Infrastructure and Nature Based Solutions

  • Phase 3

    Desilting and Solid Waste Removal from Lake at Inlet Points

  • Phase 4

    Redevelopment of surrounding Green Spaces into eco-park

  • Phase 5

    Development of Connected and Safe Pedestrian and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) Network and Infrastructure

  • Phase 6

    Implementation of Online Monitoring Systems and Associated Infrastructure

  • Phase 7

    Institutional Capacity Building Measures and Operation and Maintenance Provisioning of Nature Based Solutions for 3 Years

Current Stage

Concept Stage: Specific projects are identified and conceptualized. There exists a basic economic model.



Project Milestones


ESG Impact

Hyderabad, India is one of the IT power hubs of the country and home to several leading information and communications technology firms of the world. Given its long tenure as a capital city, Hyderabad is a multi-cultural melting pot with a long and diverse history, enriched by language, food, music, art and crafts from across the world. For five consecutive years Hyderabad city has retained first position among Indian cities for the quality of life of its residents, based on the annual survey conducted by Mercer consulting. But the economic drivers which lead to wealth and prosperity have also led to the rapid and unconstrained urbanization of peripheral areas, and the municipal boundary was expanded in 2007 to improve municipal services in these peripheral regions. The rapid urban growth in and around the city has impacted urban blue (water bodies) and green (vegetation cover and associated ecosystems) spaces such as lakes, parks and urban forests that have been and are being rapidly substituted by built-up spaces. Formerly thriving water-related ecosystems (both man-made and naturally occurring) provided vital services such as flood storage, sources of clean water through both surface water storage and groundwater recharge, recreational facilities, biodiversity habitats and microclimate benefits in a semi-arid region. Conventional engineered grey (built-up) solutions over the past 3 decades have led to massive investments in water supply, sewerage and drainage infrastructure. However, these built infrastructures (for e.g., Sewage Treatment Plants) remain unable to arrest the severe degradation of city’s blue-green spaces which are vital not only for city’s resilience against climate change but also for liveability, quality of life, citizen health, and economic growth. The failure of such built infrastructure is due to unprecedented change in the catchment condition caused by rapid urbanization, climate change driven extreme weather events and high operation and maintenance (O&M) cost of such built infrastructure. This proposed project is conceptualised to restore this urban water body and associated ecosystem using Nature Based Solutions (NBS), where its clean waters and restored wetlands creates thriving biodiversity and reconnects citizens with this urban blue-green asset in an inclusive and equitable fashion. Additionally, such an urban blue green asset can provide many other ecosystem services, in the form of flood control, microclimate control etc. The project also proposes that ease of access (by walking and non-motorised transport modes) be enhanced in the precinct by creating universally accessible pedestrian network and a non-motorised transport (NMT) network around the lake area. And these networks connect to wider city level transportation networks such as the bus and Metro rail systems.

The expected outcomes are as follows :

• Economic development.

• Increased liveability and quality of life will make Hyderabad the preferred hub for high revenue business and industry and retain and grow the existing IT industry in the city. In addition the reputation of the city as a centre for nature centred and healthy and active lifestyles will be enhanced.

• Minimal operational and maintenance costs of nature based systems and solutions will support the fiscal health of city utilities.

• Potential adaptation and mitigation impacts of nature based systems during extreme weather events can reduce losses to life, property, and infrastructure, thus improving the economic outputs of the city.

• Increase in tourist footfalls and tourism revenue based on the water quality improvements and pedestrian and non-motorised mobility interventions. A 2014 study looked at user demand and preference for recreation around the Hussain Sagar area, with and without water quality improvements. The study concluded that there is an opportunity for city authorities to generate about INR 22-89 million (USD 0.36 – 1.48 million) annually, from existing ticketed public parks) if the lake water quality were improved .

• Tourism related informal livelihoods boosted due to increased inflow of tourists. • Increment in land values of surrounding properties due to improved and safer access to lake edge and improved mobility network, particularly for pedestrians and NMT users.

• Social impact.

• Opportunity for all citizens of Hyderabad (across all income levels and vulnerable conditions) to reconnect to a restored water body and natural surroundings with improved biodiversity.

• Opportunity for citizens to adopt a healthy lifestyle due to the promotion of active modes such as walking and NMT modes on safe, complete and universally accessible networks.

• A public access space, open to all for socio-cultural interaction; a natural enclave giving the opportunity to remove oneself from modern life’s hectic pace; and be able to slow down to reflect, meditate and explore one’s inner self.

• Governance.

• The incorporation of nature based solutions in this project proposal requires a revisioning of existing governance and institutional mechanisms (including tendering processes and evaluation metrics) to implement these innovative practices. Governance structures will have to be established which will delineate the ownership of and roles and responsibilities of collaborating organizations so as to achieve a restored Hussain Sagar precinct.

• The active consideration of restoration and conservation of blue-green assets in city’s development can support multiple socio-economic and ecological benefits, such as improved access to nature precincts, health improvements, active lifestyles etc.

• This project offers an opportunity to deploy governance mechanisms to support nature based solutions and gather proof of concept on the efficacy of nature based solutions as a more sustainable and strategic alternative to conventional systems in the era of climate change.

• Develop governance mechanisms to ensure that equitable and inclusive infrastructure development occurs where the rights and needs of all citizens (across age, gender, ability etc.) are met and enhanced.

• Environmental outcomes.

• Alongside the direct and indirect economic benefits a multitude of benefits to the environment and natural ecosystem will also be created through this project.

• Primarily, the improved water quality and cleaned environment will enhance the biodiversity in the area, bringing back bird and fish species and other aquatic and wetland species to the region.

• The lake and its inlets can also increase flood protection to downstream areas, increase ground water recharge and improve the micro-climate of the lake and surrounding areas.


  • Opportunity for approximately 8.7 million citizens of Hyderabad (across all income levels and vulnerable conditions) to reconnect to a restored water body and natural surroundings with improved biodiversity.
  • Opportunity for citizens to adopt a healthy lifestyle due to the promotion of active modes such as walking and NMT modes on safe, complete and universally accessible networks. o Increase in tourist footfalls and tourism revenue as well boost in tourism related formal and informal livelihoods due to increased inflow of tourists.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation 

  • Once completed, the project will lead to improvement of water quality of Hussain Sagar lake by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials.
  • Once completed, the project will protect and restore water-related ecosystems including wetlands, aquifers and lakes.

SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • The proposed project will promote work opportunities for a diverse cross-section of the citizens and contribute towards economic benefits.
  • A larger outcome of the project would be the reconnect of the Lake with the city as a major tourism destination that would lead to economic benefits in terms of development opportunities as well as direct and indirect employment opportunities.

SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The proposed project will upgrade and retrofit the existing built infrastructure using nature based solutions which is sustainable, resilient and resource efficient compared to a built infrastructure like conventional sewage treatment plants.

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • The proposed project will protect and safeguard the natural heritage of Hussain Sagar lake, which is already designated as the ‘Heart of the World’ by UNWTO in 2012.
  • This project aims for improved water quality and ecosystem outcomes such as flooding and microclimate control, groundwater recharge. Thus this project will reduce the direct and indirect economic losses caused by water-related disasters such as flood and draught (water scarcity).
  • This proposed project will be a significant step towards reducing per capita environmental impact of Hyderabad.
  • This proposed project aims to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public and recreational spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

SDG 15 – Life on Land

  • Once completed, the project will lead to conservation, restoration and sustainable use of Hussain Sagar Lake ecosystems and it’s services in line with inline with international best practices.
  • The proposed project will mobilize significant financial resources for restoration and conservation of an inland freshwater ecosystem (Hussain Sagar Lake) and associated biodiversity.

SDG 17 – Partnerships to Achieve the Goals

The proposed project will likely spur public private partnerships and civil society partnerships as it moves forward towards the implementation stage.

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

  • The catchment of the Hussain Sagar Lake is getting urbanized rapidly. However, likewise other major city authorities in India, Hyderabad city authority is also facing difficulties in expanding service provisions like sewerage infrastructure in tandem with the pace of urbanization. As a result, urban water bodies are receiving ever increasing loads of semi-treated/ untreated sewage, which is severely impacting the environmental health and biodiversity of urban water bodies. This situation is not going to change easily as the Indian cities including Hyderabad will be facing similar trend of urbanization going forward. Also the increasing urban income and consumption pattern is leading to generation of significant quantity of non-biodegradable solid wastes like plastics. A significant portion of this waste stream enters into the urban water bodies due to haphazard disposal. The issue of ever increasing semi-treated/ untreated sewage and non-biodegradable solid waste load can significantly impact restoration efforts of urban water bodies like Hussain Sagar Living Water Project.
  • Rapid urbanization by way of sprawl development leads to conversion of permeable earth surface to impermeable one within any urban water body catchment. This conversion severely impacts the hydrology and water quality of urban water bodies. Additionally, climate change driven erratic climatic condition leads to high water flow for short duration heavy wet periods followed by low/ no water flow for long duration of dry periods. These issues are causing significant design challenges for urban water body restoration projects.
  • The environmental regulations of India are evolving every day. This leads to uncertainties around design and permit related criteria. These uncertainties can also cause significant project implementation delays and project cost escalations.
  • While nature based solutions (NBS) and blue green infrastructure (BGI) has been widely used across the globe for restoration and conservation of water bodies and associated ecosystem, there are very few and small examples of use of NBS and BGI in India. Therefore, acceptability of such concepts at Government level in India is still very low due to lack of existence of proof of concepts.
  • Current public procurement processes in India are not very favourable toward new concepts like NBS. Public tenders are typically technology prescriptive and also requires India specific experience statement, significant balance sheet and liability coverages. It is typically challenging for NBS solution providers to meet such pre-requisites and to take part in such tendering processes.

Risk mitigation and continuity

  • Preparation of a clear policy document that includes the concept visioning, master plan, projects, budgets and tender documents that are approved in time.
  • Get statutory approval to make the master plan and vision document implementable by law.
  • Preparation and sign-off on Planning and Design guidelines for the approved projects.
  • An implementation framework for the approved projects that are dovetailed with the overall project schedule and timelines.
  • Additional budgetary support from state to ensure the project execution from physical as well as administrative standpoint.


Type of Investment


Financing Structure

Entirely Publicly Financed

Secured Investment

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded USD 71 million between 2006 and 2013 for Hussain Sagar Lake and Catchment Area Improvement Project (now completed). This extensive lake improvement project included setting up of conventional sewage treatment plants and interception & diversion structures to minimize the flow of polluted waters into the lake. However, these built infrastructures remain unable to arrest the severe degradation of this blue-green spaces due to unprecedented change in the catchment condition caused by rapid urbanization, climate change driven extreme weather events and high operation and maintenance (O&M) cost of such built infrastructure.

Committed Government Funding


National and Subnational Investors


Committed Private Funding



Technical Support Required

A Detailed Project Report (DPR) is to be developed for this project to establish the critical benchmarks, details and requirements specific to the location and context of this project.


Governmental Buy-in

Yes. Subnational/regional level, Other.

Other Forms of Governmental Support

Project ownership
Regulatory approval support (permits and licenses)
Project finance guarantor
Additional budgetary support, if required in special cases
Dispute resolution
Stakeholder and socio-political engagement

National Ministries Involved

Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Government of Telangana

SubNational Ministries Involved

Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Government of Telangana

Other Entities Involved


Licenses and Permits



  • 10th February 2020

    Cities Investment Platform in progress - updates pending

  • 10th February 2020

    Project featured on the Cities Investment Platform, which was launched at the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10)

Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.



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