Part 2 | Multipurpose River Valley Projects

Multipurpose River Valley Projects

Dams were traditionally built to impound rivers and rainwater that could be used later to irrigate agricultural fields. Today, dams are built not just for irrigation but for:

  • electricity generation,
  • water supply for domestic and industrial uses,
  • flood control,
  • recreation,
  • inland navigation,
  • fish breeding etc.

Hence dams are now referred to as multipurpose projects where the many uses of the impounded water are integrated with one another. For example, in the Satluj-Beas river basin, the Bhakra Nangal project water is being used both for hydel power production and irrigation. Similarly, the Hirakud project in the Mahanadi basin integrates conservation of water with flood control.

Multipurpose projects, launched after independence with their integrated water resources management approach, were thought of as the vehicle that would lead the nation to development and progress. But in the recent years, multipurpose projects and large dams have come under great scrutiny for a variety of reasons:

  • Regulating and damming of rivers affects their natural flow causing poor sediment flow and excessive sedimentation at the bottom of the reservoir, resulting in rockier stream beds and poorer habitats for the rivers’ aquatic life.
  • Dams also fragment rivers making it difficult for the aquatic fauna to migrate, especially for spawning.
  • The reservoirs that are created on floodplains also submerge the existing vegetation and soil leading to its decomposition over a period of time.
  • In geologically unstable areas, development of large dams can destabilise the land. The 2013 Uttarakhand Floods triggered a debate on whether the hydropower projects operational in Uttarakhand were responsible for the floods that killed more than 1000 people.
  • Inter-state water disputes are also becoming common with regard to sharing the costs and benefits of the multipurpose projects.


A List of Important River Water Projects in India:

Project River Related State
Bansagar Project Son Bihar

Uttar Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh

Bargi Project Bargi Madhya Pradesh
Beas Project Beas Haryana



Bhadra Project Bhadra Karnataka
Bhakhra Nangal Project Sutlej Punjab,

Himachal Pradesh ,



Bheema Project Pawana Maharashtra
Chambal Project Chambal Rajasthan

Madhya Pradesh

Damodar Ghati Project Damodar Jharkhand

West Bengal

Dulhasti Project Chinab Jammu & Kashmir
Durga Barrage Project Damodar West Bengal


Farakka Project Ganga, Bhagirathi West Bengal
Gandak Project Gandaki Bihar, Uttar Pradesh
Ganga Sagar Project Chambal Madhya Pradesh
Ghatprabha Project Ghatprabha Karnataka
Girna Project Girna Maharashtra
Hansdev Bango Project Hansdev Madhya Pradesh
Hidkal Project Ghatprabha Karnataka
Hirakud Project Mahanadi Orissa
Idduki Project Periyar Kerala
Indira Gandhi Canal Project Satlaj Rajasthan



Jawahar Sagar Project Chambal Rajasthan
Jayakwadi Project Godawari Maharashtra
Kakrapara Project Tapti Gujrat
Kangsawati Project Kangsawati West Bengal
Kol Dam Project Sutlaj Himachal Pradesh
Kosi Project Kosi Bihar & Nepal
Koyana Project Koyana Maharashtra
Krishna Project Krishna Karnataka
Kunda Project Kunda Tamilnadu
Let Bank Ghaghra Canal Ganaga Uttar Pradesh
Madhya Ganaga Canal Ganaga Uttar Pradesh
Mahanadi Delta Project Mahanadi Odisha
Malprabha Project Malprabha Karnataka
Mandi Project Vyas Himachal Pradesh
Matatilla Project Betwa Uttar Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh

Mayurakshi Project Mayurakshi West Bengal
Minimato Bango Hasdeo Project Hasdeo Bango river Madhya Pradesh
Muchkund Project Muchkund Odisha

Andhra Pradesh

Nagarjunsagar Project Krishna Andhra Pradesh
Nagpur Power Project Koradi Maharashtra
Narmada Sagar Project Narmada Madhya Pradesh


Nathpa Jhakri Project Sutlaj Himachal Pradesh
Panam Project Panam Gujarat
Panama Project Panama Gujarat
Panchet Project Damodar Jharkhand

West Bengal

Pong Project Beas Punjab
Poochampad Project Godawari Andhra Pradesh
Purna Project Purna Maharashtra
Rajasthan Canal Project Sutlej, Vyas, Ravi Rajasthan



Ramganga Project Ramganga Uttar Pradesh
Rana Pratap Sagar Project Chambal Rajsthan
Ranjeet Sagar Project Ravi Punjab
Rihand Project Rihand Uttar Pradesh
Salal Project Chenab Jammu & Kashmir
Sardar Sarovar Project Narmada Madhya Pradesh



Sarhind Project Sutlaj Haryana
Sharawati Project Sharawati Karnataka
Sharda Project Sharda, Gomti Uttar Pradesh
Shivsamundram Project Kaveri Karnataka
Sutlaj Project Chinab Jammu & Kashmir
Tawa Project Tawa Madhya Pradesh
Tehri Dam Project Bhagirathi Uttarakhand
Tilaiya Project Barakar Jharkhand
Tulbul Project Chinab Jammu & Kashmir
Tungbhadra Project Tungbhadra Andhra Pradesh.


Ukai Project Tapti Gujarat
Upper Penganga Project Penanga Maharashtra
Uri Power Project Jhelum Jammu & Kashmir
Vyas Project Vyas Rajasthan



Himachal Pradesh

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