The extension of irrigation and generation of power are two national priorities. The harnessing of river water resources for these two purposes is being realized through construction of dams across many rivers. These dams serve many needs like for example diversion of water through irrigation.
Multipurpose Projects for Irrigation in India
canals to where it is needed most, generation of hydro-electric power, control of floods, creation of lakes to serve as tourist sides, promote industrial development, afforestation, development of fisheries, make rivers navigable and above all encourage proper water management. For this reason they are known as Multipurpose River Valley Projects. Jawaharlal Nehru called these Projects “Temples of Modem India”.
Some of the important river valley projects are the following:
1. Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC)
2. The Bhakra Nangal Project
3. The Indira Gandhi Canal Project
4. The Hirakud Project
5. The Tungabhadra Project
6. The Nagarjuna Sagar Project
7. The Rihand Project
8. The Chambal Project
9. The Namarda Valley (Sardar Sarover Project)
10. Farakka Barrage Project.
1. Damodar Valley Project
This project was the first to be started in 1948. Its design was based on Tennessee Valley Authority of USA. River Damodar flows from Chhotanagpur to West Bengal. River Damodar used to cause devastating
floods during the summer. Thousands of acres of land were flooded. It was
known as ‘river of sorrow.’ In order to check these floods a series of dams
have been built across river Damodar and its tributaries. The Damodar
Project is spread over the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. The
Corporation has built multi-purpose dams and power houses at four places—Tilaya, Konar, Panchet and Maithon. A barrage 692 metres long
and 11.58 metres high has been built at Durgapur, 2495 km long canals have been completed. Three thermal power stations at Bokaro, Chandrapur and Durgapur have been constructed. 137 km long navigation canal connects Durgapur with Kolkata.
The D.VC. Projects sets an example towards managing water resources on scientific lines. The total installed capacity of DVC in March 2001 was 2761.5 MW comprising 2,535 of thermal capacity and 144 MW of hydel electricity and 82.5 MW by gas turbine station. 5.5 lakh hectares of land are irrigated under this project. About 3.54 hectares of land has already been brought under irrigation. A total amount o Rs. 150 crores has been spent on this project. The DVC Project helps to utilize the mineral resources of Damodar valley Le. coal and iron. It also helps provide power to major industries located at Jamshedpur, Durgapur, Kulti etc. It also helps in flood control, power generation and development of irrigation.
2. Hirakud Project
This project was taken up in 1948 and was completed in 1957. It is world’s longest mainstream dam. A total amount of 83 crores of rupees was spent on this project. Under this project a dam has been built across river Mahanadi at Hirakud in Orissa. The dam is 4.8 km long and touches the height of 61 metres. It forms a reservoir of 460 km. The dam stores about 810 crore cubic metres of water. Many canals have been taken out at the dam site and the canals irrigate 2.50 lath hectares of land. Nine power houses have been built under this project which produce about 270 megawatt hydroelectricity. The project includes dams at Tikarara and
Naraj also. The project will help in flood control, utilisation of natural and forest resources of Orissa, provide irrigation to fertile land and power to different industries.
3. Tungbhadra Project
This project was completed in 1966. This project is a joint venture of the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka state governments. The Tungbhadra is a tributary of river Krishna. It is formed by joining Tung and the Bhadra streams. A dam has been built across this stream at Mallapuram in Bellary district of Karnataka. The dam is 2441 metres long and 49.33 metres high. A canal has been taken out from its left bank.’ The length of this canal is 225 km. Another canal which is 349 km long has been taken out from its right bank. These canals irrigate about 3.5 lakh hectares of land in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Fourteen power houses have been built near this dam. Eight of them are located on the right and six on the left bank of the stream. These power houses generate 126 megawatts of hydro-electricity.
4. Rihand Project
This project has been built across river Rihand. It is a tributary of river Sone. The dam forms a reservoir over an area of 466 sq. km. with a storing capacity of 1060 crore cubic metres. This reservoir is known as Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. An embankment has been built upto 160 km from Mirzapur. The dam is 90 metres high and 1020 metres long. The dam supplies water to many canals. The project has been completed at a cost of rupees thirty five crores. About 7 lakh hectares of land is irrigated in U.P. by the canals taken out from this dam. About 500 MW electricity is being generate from 6 units. The Rihand project is mainly a water power development project. It will provide power to aluminium industry at
Renukoot, chemical industries at Pipri, cement industry at Churu
and other industries.
5. The Bhakra-Nangal Project
This is the biggest multipurpose project of India. It is now managed by Bhakra-Beas Management Board which also includes the water impounded at Pong river and that diverted at Pandoh. A dam has been built across the river Sutlej at Bhaki-a situated about 80 km upstream
from Ropar in Punjab. States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have benefited from this project. The project has four main features:
(i) The Bhakra Dam. This dam is 226 metres high and 518 metres long. It is the highest gravity dam in the asia. A man-made lake created by this dam is known as Govind Sagar named (after Guru Govind Singh). This reservoir is 8 km wide and 80 km long and has storage capacity of 1000 crore cubic metres. Siwalik hills on either side of the Sutlej form this lake. It is located in the seismic zone.
(ii) The Nangal Dam. This dam is built at Nangal 13 km below the Bhakra Dam. It is 29 metres high and 305 metres long. A canal known as Nangal Hydel channel has been developed from the left bank.
(iii) Power Houses. Two power houses have been built at Bhakra which produce 210 megawatts of hydro-electricity. On the Nangal Canal there are two other power-houses also. They have been built at Ganguwal and Kotla. The total installed capacity of BBMB power plaflts is 2681.15 MW and the generation during 2001 was 10,424 MUs.
(iv) The Nangal Hydel Canal. This is a brick lined canal. It is 64 km long and has been developed at Nangal.
The water of the dam is taken to various states through canals. The chief canal of the network is known as Rajasthan Canal which is 640 km in length and originates from Sutlej at Harike. The canal carries water of Rajasthan where it will convert the desert into greenery when completed.
Benefits. The power houses under this project have a capacity to produce 1204 megawatts hydro electricity, 1100 km long canals and 3400 km long distributaries developed under this project irrigate about 14.8 lakh hectares of land.
6. Kosi Project
This project has been built across Kosi river in Bihar in co-operation with Nepal. River-Kosi is known as ‘sorrow of Bihar ‘The main aim of the project is to control floods. The main canal has been taken off Hanuman Nagar barrage to irrigate 8,73,000 hectares of land.
7. Nagarjuna Sagar Project
It is built on the river Krishna in Andhra Pradesh. The dam had been named after the Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna. It is a 1.5 km long and 25 metres high masonary dam in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. The canals taken out of this river irrigate 8.67 lakh hectares of land. A power house has been constructed with two units of 50 MW each.
8. Chambal Project
This project is a joint venture of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Chambal is a southern tributary of Yamuna river. The project consists of Gandhi Sagar Darn (M.P.), Kota barrage and Jawahar Sagar dam in Rajasthan and Rana Pratap Sagar Dam near Rawat Bhata. The project canals will irrigate 5 lakh hectares of land.
9. Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited
It is a hydel power project. It was also mired in controversy for environmental reasons. Located in Tehri Garhwal in Uttaranchal, it will promote and organise hydroelectric projects in Bhagirathi and Bhilangana valley. It will generate 2400 MW of power and irrigate 27000 hectares. The project will also provide drinking water facilities for Delhi. It is expected to be completed by 10th plan period.
10. Narmada Valley Project
Narmada is a major river on the western coast of India. It is a joint river of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Sardar Sarowar Dam has been set up under N armada Control Authority The project was conceived in 1946 hut work started only in 1961. There are many problems of this dam regarding its ultimate height. A large number of tribal villages will be submerged. The rehabilitation of these tribals needs a sympathetic consideration. A Review Committee headed by the Union Minister of Water Resources and with concerned Chief Ministers as members has been set up. Many problems of environment Degradation have made it a controversial dam.
11. Indira Gandhi Canal Project
It is a major irrigation project which was earlier known as Rajasthan Canal Project. It is a bold project to irrigate a large part of Rajasthan desert. It was started in 1957. But in 1984, it was renamed as Indira Gandhi Canal Project in the memory of the late Prime Minister of India.
Aims of the project
(1) To provide water in the N.W. Rajasthan.
(2) To provide drinking water in drought affected areas.
(3) To provide irrigation.
(4) To increase foodgrains production..
(5) To check the advance of Thar desert.
Main outlines of the project:
(1) Indira Gandhi feeder: This canal has been taken off from Harika Barrage the confluence of river Beas and Sutlej in Punjab. It
is 205 km long. The first 150 km are in Punjab, 18 km in Haryana
and the remaining 37 km are in Rajasthan. It is a fully lined
masonary canal. It simply feeds the Indira Gandhi Canal.
(2) Main Indira Gandhi Canal: Its full length is 445 km. It
is 38 metres wide at the bottom and 67 metres wide at the top. It is
6.4 mts. deep. In the first stage, 189 km long main canal has been
(3) Branches and distributaries: This canal has 9 branches and 21. distributaries. 2945 km long distribution system has been completed in the first stage.
(4) Lift canal: In higher areas water will be provided by a series
of lift irrigation system. In the first stage 152 km long Loon Karansar
Bikaner lift canal has been completed. In the second stage 1680 km long lift canal will be constructed.
(5) Water Power Development: Power houses will be constructed at Anoopgarh and Suratgarh on this canal with a capacity of 13 MW.
(6) Cost of the project: Rs. 1371 crore.
Main features of Indira Gandhi Canal Project:
1.. Length of the feeder canal = 205 km.
2. Length of the main canal = 445 km.
3. Length of distribution system = 7745 km.
4. Irrigated Area = 11.81 lakh hectares.
5. Lift irrigation = 3.61 lath hectares.
6. Foodgrains production = 37 lath ton.
7. Total cost of construction = 1371 crore Rs.