The goal of this study was to investigate land use changes in urban and peri-urban Hyderabad and their influence on wastewater irrigated rice using Landsat ETM + data and spectral matching techniques. The main source of irrigation water is the Musi River, which collects a large volume of wastewater and stormwater while running through the city. From 1989 to 2002, the wastewater irrigated area along the Musi River increased from 5,213 to 8,939 ha with concurrent expansion of the city boundaries from 22,690 to 42,813 ha and also decreased barren lands and range lands from 86,899 to 66,616 ha. Opportunistic shifts in land use, especially related to wastewater irrigated agriculture, were seen as a response to the demand for fresh vegetables and easy access to markets, exploited mainly by migrant populations. While wastewater irrigated agriculture contributes to income security of marginal groups, it also supplements the food basket of many city dwellers. Landsat ETM + data and advanced methods such as spectral matching techniques are ideal for quantifying urban expansion and associated land use changes, and are useful for urban planners and decision makers alike. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.