Major River Projects

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Temples of Modern India ...

Major Dams of India Nagarjuna Sagar Koyna kota Damoday Valley Hiradkud Narmada Dam Rana Pratap Singh salal project Bakra Nangal

Hirakud Dam

Hirakud Dam Project is built across river Mahanadi at about 15 Kms. upstream of Sambalpur town in State of Orissa. This happens to be the first post independence major multipurpose river valley project in India. The dam is 6 Kms from NH 6 . The nearest rail head is Hirakud railway station (S.E.R) which is 8 Kms from the dam site.

The project provides 1,55,635 Hects of Kharif and 1,08,385 Hects of Rabi irrigation of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Bolangir, and Subarnpur. The water released through power house irrigates further 436000 Hects of CCA in Mahanadi delta. Installed capacity for power generation in 307.5 MW through its two power houses at Burla , at the right bank to and Chiplima , at 22 Kms down stream of dam . Besides the project provides flood protection to 9500 sq Kms of delta area in district of Cuttack and Puri.

Brief History

After high floods of 1937, Sir M. Visveswararya gave proposal for detailed investigation for storage reservoirs in Mahanadi basin to tackle problem of floods in Mahanadi delta, In 1945, it was decided under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, the then Member of Labour in Govt. of India that the potentialities of river Mahanadi should be fruitfully and expenditiously investigated for multipurpose use. Central Water- ways Irrigation and Navigation Commission took up the work. The foundation stone of Hirakud Dam was laid by Sir Howthrone Lewis, the then Governor of Orissa on 15th March 1946. The project report was submitted to Government in June 1947. The first batch of concrete was laid by Pandit Jawaharalal Neheru on 12th April 1948. The project was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 13th, January 1957. Power generation along with supply for irrigation started progressively from 1956 and full potential was achieved by 1966.


Hirakud dam is a composite structure of Earth, Concrete and Masonry. The main dam having an overall length of 4.8 K.m. spans between hills Lamdungri on left hand Chandili Dunguri on the right. The Dam is flanked by 21 K.Ms. long earthen dykes both on left and right sites to close the low suddles beyond the abutment hills. It has the distinction of being the longest dam in the world, being 25.8 K.Ms. long with dam and dykes taken together. It has also the rare distinct of forming the biggest artificial lake in Asia with reservoir spread of 743 sq Kms at full reservoir level. Hirakud dam intercepts 83400 sq. km (32200 sq miles) of Mahanadi catchments. The reservoir has a storage of 5818 M. Cum with gross of 8136 M Cum.

Bakra Dam

Bhakra Dam is a majestic monument across river Sutlej. Its construction was taken up first after independence, for the uplift and welfare of the people of Northern Region. The construction of this project was started in the year 1948 and was completed in bhakra dam1963 . It is 740 ft. high above the deepest foundation as straight concrete dam being more than three times the height of Qutab Minar. Bhakra Dam is the highest Concrete Gravity dam in Asia and Second Highest in the world. The water stored at Bhakra has a tremendous potential of generating hydroelectric power. There are two power houses namely Left Bank Power Plant and Right Bank Power Plant. The power houses are connected on either side by underground cable galleries with the switch yard from where transmission lined take off. The Salient features of Bhakra Dam and Power houses are as below.

Nangal Dam

Nangal Dam situated about 13 Kms. Downstream of Bhakra Dam, is 29m (95 ft.) high & comprises 26 bays of 9.14m (30 ft.) each. It is designed to pass a flood 9910 cumecs (350000 cusecs) water. Dam diverts the water of river Sutlej into nangal damNangal Hydel Channel & Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel for power generation and irrigation purpose. Nangal Pond acts as a balancing reservoir to smoothen out the diurnal variation in releases from the Bhakra Power Plants. Nangal Hydel Channel is a lined channel taking off from the left bank of river Sutlej just above the Nangal Dam. The natural fall available along the channel is utilised at Ganguwal and Kotla for generating power. Anandpur Saheb Hydel Channel takes off from nangal Barrage and along the left bank of river Sutlej almost parallel to and on the left side of the Nangal Hydel Channel. It is 33 Kms. Long with a discharging capacity of 10150 Cs. It has two power houses at Ganguwal and at Kotla.

Kota Barrage is the fourth in the series of Chambal Valley Projects, located about 0.8 km upstream of Kota City in Rajasthan. Water released after power generation at Gandhi Sagar dam, Rana Pratap Sagar dam and Jawahar Sagar Dams, is diverted by Kota Barrage for irrigation in Rajasthan and in Madhya Pradesh through canals on the left and the right sides of the river. The work on this dam was completed in 1960.

The total catchment area of Kota Barrage is 27,332 km², of which the free catchment area below Jawahar Sagar Dam is just 137 km². The live storage is 99 Mm³. It is an earthfill dam with a concrete spillway. The right and left main canals have a headworks discharge capacity of 188 and 42 m³/sec, respectively. The total length of the main canals, branches and distribution system is about 2,342 km, serving an area of 2,290 km² of CCA[1]. 50% of the water intercepted at Kota Barrage has been agreed to be diverted to Madhya Pradesh for irrigation. The Barrage operates 18 gates to control flow of flood and canal water downstream, and serves as bridge between parts of Kota on both side of the river.

This beautiful setting is ideal for outings and evening strolls. Massive flow/froth of water during opening of gates in monsoon season — and accompanying vibration of bridge — are particular attraction among locals. Though in past, mis- or non-communication about the discharge of water to residents near river bank has resulted in lost of lives of persons engaged in swimming or washing activities downstream.

The Narmada Dam Project is a project involving the construction of a series of large hydroelectric dams on the Narmada River in India. The project was first conceived of in the 1940s by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The project only took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity.

Of the thirty large dams planned on river Narmada, Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is the largest multipurpose project involved in the construction. With a proposed height of 136.5 m, it's also high on discord between the planners and the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The multi-purpose project will irrigate more than 18,000 square kilometres, most of it in drought prone areas like Kutch and Saurashtra. Critics maintain that its negative environmental impact outweights its benefits.

In this image I tried to point some major Dams/projects of India.There is no accuracy in the above image. Click on titles on the image to know about that project.


Click Here to watch a Documentary on Indian Big Dams

Hailed as The "Temples of Modern India" by Jawharlal Nehru, Dams have a great role to play a great role in Indian economy. Apart from Irrigation they are the producers of Hydro electricity which runs major industries of India. In this Section we try to present some information about the major river projects of India.


At independence, in 1947, there were fewer than 300 large dams in India. By the year 2000 the number had grown to over 4000, more than half of them built between 1971 and 1989. India ranks third in the world in dam building, after US and China. While some of these dams were built primarily for flood control, water supply, and hydroelectric power generation, the primary purpose of most Indian dams (96 percent) remains irrigation. In fact, large dam construction has been the main form of investment in irrigation undertaken by the Indian government. But, starting in the 1980s, public investment in large dams in India has been the subject of a sustained controversy—epitomized by the Sardar Sarovar Project—centering on the balance between the social, environmental, and economic costs of dams and their benefits.


Click here to watch a Video Documentary on Indian Big Dams


Below are the List of some of the Major River Projects/Dams. Click for furthur details..


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I read with interests the projects on river .I am of opinion that the waste waters should br recycled as new fresh water throu rains or monsoon is becoming remote.
Ihave a a very good method of imprving the polluted waters of the rivers and to make it useful for domestic and agricultural purposes. have different strategis for restoring and rebuilding the riber water.Pl inform me as to who is the competent authority who could sanction permission on this very vital the urgent needed ok to meet the current awter deman aswell build more water resorces. Thanks
Ratnasabapathi, cell 9443176633 "BIO REMEDIATION OF RIVERS"
34,Textool lay out , singanallur, coimbatore-5. Tamilnadu. India 641005
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20 Jun 2012, 01:15
WEll Mr. Beaver, maybe you ought to get up to Howard A. Hanson Dam and help out the ACE on that depression on the dam's right bank. It might mean you would have to be aornud humans, but you are probably going to better at building and fixing dams than the humans are! 8-)
Sushant Danekar
08 May 2012, 23:11
Good Article

India need more power.
Nuclear Power plan is the only way out to match superpower qualities.

01 Mar 2012, 13:11
@ Mr. Mahesh

The thick line is the water divide. It represents basically hills/mountains/plateaus dividing the east and west flowing rivers. The sources of the rivers are on the thick line.

Thanks for the comments
mahesh parmane
14 Dec 2011, 11:17
i found it self explanatory good for those who wants first hand information about rivers and dams. plz clearfy my quary. what is the thick line represents in your map which starts from near bhakra dam and ends near peryar dam
teg bahadur singh
26 Jul 2011, 01:13
well done dilip.................

keep on doin gr8 work
Kavaj Burdak
11 May 2011, 19:15
It was helpful to me!!

Thank You!!!