Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 24, Issue 1–2, pp 65–77 | Cite as

Sewage disposal in the Musi-River, India: water quality remediation through irrigation infrastructure

  • Jeroen H. J. EnsinkEmail author
  • Christopher A. Scott
  • Simon Brooker
  • Sandy Cairncross


The disposal of untreated urban sewage in to open water bodies is common in most developing countries. This poses potential negative consequences to public health and agricultural sustainability. Hyderabad, one of India’s largest cities, disposes large amounts of its wastewater untreated into the Musi River, from where it is used, with the aid of irrigation weirs, for agricultural production. This paper presents a 14 month (December 2003 – January 2005) water quality survey which aimed to quantify spatial and temporal changes in key water quality parameters along a 40 km stretch of the Musi River. The survey found that river water quality improved dramatically with distance from the city; from untreated sewage in the city to irrigation water safe for use in agriculture 40 km downstream of the city. This improvement was contributed to by different treatment processes caused or aided by the irrigation weirs placed on the river.


Agriculture Helminths India Musi River Wastewater use Wastewater treatment 



Wastewater research in Hyderabad was supported from core money from the IWMI. Simon Brooker is supported by a Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellowship (073656).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeroen H. J. Ensink
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christopher A. Scott
    • 2
    • 3
  • Simon Brooker
    • 1
  • Sandy Cairncross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  2. 2.International Water Management Institute (IWMI) South Asia regional office, ICRISATPatancheruIndia
  3. 3.Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and School of Geography & DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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