Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Bhadbhut Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhadbhut Project, Hilsa Fish

Mains level : Not Much

The Gujarat government recently awarded the contract for a the Bhadbhut project in Bharuch, Gujarat. It has faced protests from local fishermen for its likely impact on fishing patterns, notably those of hilsa.

Make a note of major dams in India along with the rivers, terrain, major wildlife sanctuaries and national parks incident to these rivers.

What is the Bhadbhut Project?

  • It is planned to be a 1.7-km causeway-cum-weir barrage with 90 gates, across the river Narmada, 5 km from Bhadbhut village, and 25 km from the mouth of the river, where it flows into the Gulf of Khambhat.
  • The barrage will stop most of the excess water flowing out of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from reaching the sea and thus create a “sweet water lake” of 600 mcm (million cubic metres) on the river.
  • The barrage will also have a six-lane road that will connect the left and right banks of the river and provide shorten the land distance between two large industrial estates in Surat and Bharuch.
  • The project also aims to prevent flooding in years when rainfall is higher than normal.
  • Embankments 22 km long will be made and will extend upstream towards Bharuch, from either side of the river.
  • The project is part of the larger Kalpasar Project, which entails the construction of a 30-km dam across the Gulf of Khambhat between Bharuch and Bhavnagar districts.
  • The reservoir is meant to tap the waters of the Narmada, Mahisagar and Sabarmati.

Why are fishermen upset?

  • The barrage is expected to interfere with the migration and breeding cycle of hilsa.
  • A marine fish, hilsa migrate upstream and arrives in the brackish water of the Narmada estuary near Bharuch for spawning usually during the monsoon months of July and August, and continue doing so till November.
  • Once the barrage is built, it is expected to block its natural entry.

About Hilsa Fish

IUCN status: Least Concerned

  • The Hilsa is a species of fish related to the herring, in the family Clupeidae.
  • It is a very popular and sought-after food fish in the Indian Subcontinent.
  • Though it’s a saltwater fish, it migrates to sweet waters.
  • It is the national fish of Bangladesh and state symbol in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura.
  • The fish contributes about 12% of the total fish production and about 1.15% of GDP in Bangladesh.

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