Dams in India – List of Important, Major Dams in India with River and State

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Dams in India are estimated to be around 5,334, out of which, approximately 447 large dams are still under construction. Dams are important because they are created across a river or stream to hold water back. They are barriers that can be utilized to hold water, manage floods, and produce electricity. Reservoirs formed by dams stop floods and provide water for industrial use, raising aqua plants and animals, irrigation, human use, and navigability.

A dam is a physical obstacle that hinders or limits the flow of subsurface or surface water. Dams are useful for storing and distributing water to various locations. They act as a source of hydroelectricity, i.e., produce electricity after utilizing water. This article will provide information about major dams in India, their types, and their importance, along with a list of dams in India with rivers and states.

Dams in India

A dam is a type of barrier designed to store water; the resultant reservoir is used for irrigation, generating electricity, etc. Dams and reservoirs are created to keep surplus water during rainy seasons so that arid grounds can be irrigated.

Dams in India UPSC Notes

One of the most critical benefits of dams is the capability to manage water flows according to the seasonal farming necessities of different areas. Dams in India are categorized according to structure, intended objective, etc.

  • By Structure – Embankment dams, Arch dams, Gravity dams, etc.
  • By Purpose – Power generation, Irrigation purpose, Multipurpose, etc.

Important Dams in India

This government organization operates several power stations in the Damodar River in Jharkhand and West Bengal. The important dams in India constructed under this firm are:

  • Maithon Dam (Jharkhand) on Barak River;
  • Konar dam (Jharkhand) on Konar River;
  • Tilaiya dam (Jharkhand) on Barak River;
  • Panchet dam (Jharkhand) on Damodar River.

Features of Dams in India

There are several benefits of the major dams in India for the inhabitants. Dams provide sufficient water for domestic purposes and industries and are advantageous for irrigation facilities. The main aim of the creation of dams is to reduce the frequency of floods that occur. Dams aid in the navigation of rivers and produce hydroelectric power for the nearby areas where it is situated.

The biggest dams in India and their tributaries supply water for fishing and boating, which act as recreational areas for visitors. Dams help navigate rivers, which is the most inexpensive form of transportation. Many industries utilize water from the major dams of India.

Types of Major Dams in India and Their Formation

All the Major Dams in India have substantial importance. The different types of largest dams in India are constructed by following a unique manufacturing structure. We have explained the procedure for the formation of different types of dams in the table demonstrated below:

  • Arch Dam
  • Gravity Dam
  • Arch-Gravity Dam
  • Barrages
  • Embankment Dams
  • Rock-Fills Dams
  • Concrete-face rock-fill dams
Types of Dams in India Description
Arch Dam The dam is a solid concrete dam bent upstream in the plain;

It is created so that the hydrostatic pressure pushes against the arch, causing it to straighten and strengthen the structure

Gravity Dam Dams constructed from concrete or stone, or brick are gravity dams;

These dams in India are developed to hold back water by using only the weight of the material and its resistance against the foundation

Arch-Gravity Dam This type of dam possesses the characteristics of an arch dam and a gravity dam;

It curves upstream in a narrowing arc that heads most of the water pressure against the canyon rock walls

Barrages A diversion dam in India with a low head comprising several large gates that can be opened or closed to maintain the water passing through
Embankment Dams It is a type of big artificial dam;

Embankment Dams are formed by the placement and compaction of a complex semi-plastic mound of various soil, sand, clay, or rock compositions

Rock-Fills Dams These dams are embankments of compacted, free-draining granular earth with an impermeable zone
Concrete-face rock-fill dams The dams are rock-filled with concrete slabs on their upstream face;

The design provides the concrete slab as an impenetrable wall to stop leakage

Water Storage Capacity of Dams in India

Different dams and rivers in India have different water-storing capacities. The table demonstrates that the Dam in India having the highest storage capacity (12.2 km3) is Indira Sagar, located in Madhya Pradesh. On the contrary, the dam that has the least storage capacity (1.996 km3) is Idukki Dam, situated in Kerala.

Dams in India State / UT River Storage capacity
Indira Sagar Madhya Pradesh Narmada 12.2 km3
Nagarjuna Sagar Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Krishna 11.561 km3
Rihand Dam (Govind Ballabh pant Sagar) Uttar Pradesh Rihand River 10.6 km3
Bhakra Dam Himachal Pradesh Sutlej 9.62 km3
Sardar Sarovar Dam Gujarat Narmada River 9.5 km3
Srisailam Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Krishna 8.722 km3
Ukai Dam Gujarat Tapti River 7.41 km3
Hirakud Dam Odisha Mahanadi River 5.896 km3
Tehri Dam Uttarakhand Bhagirathi River 4 km3
Sriram Sagar Telangana Godavari 3.172 km3
Ujjani Dam Maharashtra Bhima river 3.14 km3
Jayakwadi Dam Maharashtra Godavari 2.909 km3
Koyna Dam Maharashtra Koyna River 2.7974 km3
Mettur Dam Tamil Nadu River Kaveri 2.64 km3
Somasila Andhra Pradesh Pennar 2.20862 km3
Idukki Dam Kerala Periyar 1.996 km3

Famous Dams in India – Interesting Facts

Dams are important structures beneficial for modern society. Dams and hydropower are repeatedly mixed to generate electricity. Water can be collected and stored in a dam that can be equally divided between regions. Below are some fascinating particulars about the famous dams in India in 2023.

Facts Famous Dams in India
Oldest Dam in India Kallanai Dam (Grand Anicut) on the river Kaveri (Tiruchirapalli, Tamilnadu)
Longest Dam in the world Hirakund dam (Orissa)
Longest Dam in India Hirakund dam (Orissa)
Highest straight gravity Dam in India Bhakra dam
Tallest Dam in the world Nurek dam (Tajikistan)
Highest Dam in India Tehri dam (Uttarakhand)

List of Dams in India with River and State

Various dams are built over important rivers in different Indian states. Below is the list of the biggest dams in India. Go through the Important dams of India, the state in which they are constructed, and the river passing through them.

List of Dams in India with River and State
State Name of Dam River
Andhra Pradesh Somasila Dam Penna
Polavaram Project Godavari
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Krishna
Srisailam Dam Krishna
Arunachal Pradesh Kohira Dam Kohira
Bihar Nagi Dam Nagi
Ranganadi Dam Ranganadi River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River
Chhattisgarh Dudhawa Dam Mahanadi
Minimata (Hasdeo) Bango Dam Hasdeo
Gujarat Aji Dam Aji
Sipu Dam Sipu
Mitti Dam Mitti
Karjan Dam Karjan
Kadana Dam Mahi
Sardar Sarovar Dam Narmada
Ukai Dam Tapti
Himachal Pradesh Chamera Dam Ravi
Nathpa Jhakri (Sjvnl) Dam Satluj
Pong Dam Beas
Bhakra Dam Satluj
Kol Dam Satluj
Jammu and Kashmir Pakal Dul Dam Marusudar
Kishenganga Dam KISHANGANGA
Nimoo Bazgo Dam Indus
Uri Dam Jhelum
Salal Dam Chenab
Baglihar Dam Chenab
Jharkhand Konar Dam Konar
North Koel North Koel
Tenughat Dam Damodar
Maithon Dam Barakar
Panchet Dam Damodar
Karnataka Lakhya Dam Lakhya hole
Tungabhadra Dam Tungabhadra
Almatti Dam Krishna
Kabini Dam Kabini
Supa dam Kalinadi
Hidkal Dam Ghataprabha
Hemavathy Dam Hemavathy
Bhadra Dam Bhadra
Basava Sagar Dam (Narayanpur Dam) Krishna
Krishnarajasagar Dam Cauvery
Kerala Idukki Dam Periyar
Cheruthoni Dam Cheruthoni
Kakki Dam Kakki
Kulamavu Dam Kilivillithode
Mullaperiyar Dam Periyar
Madhya Pradesh Ban Sagar Dam Son
Gandhi Sagar Dam Chambal
Indira Sagar Dam Narmada
Omkareshwar Dam Narmada
Tawa Dam Tawa
Maharashtra Bhatsa Dam Bhatsa and chorna
Koyna Dam Koyna
Warna Dam Varna
Ujjani Dam Bhima
Aruna Dam Aruna
Upper Wardha Dam Wardha
Odisha Hirakud Dam (Longest Dam in India) Mahanadi
Indravati Dam Indravati
Kapur Dam Kapur
Podagada Dam Podagada
Rengali Dam Brahmani
Upper Kolab Dam Kapur
Haladia Dam Haladia
Lower Indra Dam Indra
Punjab Ranjit Sagar Dam Ravi
Rajasthan Bisalpur Dam Banas
Jawahar Sagar Dam Chambal
Mahi Bajaj Sagar Dam Mahi
Rana Pratap Sagar Dam Chambal
Jaswant Sagar Dam Luni
Jakham Main Dam Jakham (Mahi)
Sikkim Rangit III Dam Ranjit
Tamilnadu Bhavani Dam Bhavani
Mettur Dam Kaveri
Sholaiyar Dam Sholaiyar
Pillur Dam Bhavani
Telangana Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Krishna (Some Part of Dam also in Telangana)
Srisailam Dam Krishna (Some Part of Dam also in Telangana)
Nizam Sagar Dam Manjira
Musi Dam Musi
Singur Dam Manjira
Sri Rama Sagar (Pochampadu Project) Godavari
Uttarakhand Jamrani Dam Gola
Lakhwar Dam Yamuna
Koteshwar Bhagirathi
Ramganga Dam Ramganga
Tehri Dam Bhagirathi
Uttar Pradesh Rihand Dam Rihand
West Bengal Kangsabati Kumari Dam Kasai

Largest Dams in India – State and Features

Dams have always been a tremendous reserve for constructively utilizing natural resources. Listed are the largest dams in India with state and features including their height, length, capacity, and type.

Major Dams in India State Features
Hirakud Dam Orissa Reservoir capacity – 47,79,965 acre-feet;

Dam Type – Composite Dam;

Installed Capacity – 347.5 Megawatt;

Dam Height – 61 m;

Dam Length – 4.8 km (Main Dam);

It is the longest dam in India.

Tehri Dam Uttarakhand Reservoir capacity- 21,00,000 acre-feet;

Dam Length – 575 m;

Installed Capacity – 1000 Megawatt;

Important dam of India;

Dam Height – 260.5 m;

Dam Type – Rock fill

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Telangana Reservoir capacity- 93,71,845 acre-feet;

Installed Capacity – 816 Megawatt;

Dam Type – Masonry Dam;

Dam Height – 124 m;

Total Dam Length – 4863 m

Sardar Sarovar Dam Gujarat Reservoir capacity- 77,00,000 acre-feet;

Dam Length – 1210 m;

Dam Type – Gravity Dam;

Installed Capacity – 1450 Megawatt;

Dam Height – 163m

Bhakra Nangal Dam Himachal Pradesh and Punjab Reservoir capacity- 75,01,775 acre-feet;

Dam Length – 520 m;

Dam Type – Concrete Gravity;

Installed Capacity- 1325 Megawatt;

Dam Height – 226 m

Hydroelectric Dams in India

India has the 5th biggest hydropower capacity in the world and comprises numerous largest dams in India that generate clean and renewable electricity. The country contains 197 hydroelectric dams or power plants, which have the capacity to produce more than 25 megawatts (MW).

The five biggest hydroelectric power plants in India are mentioned in the table below along with their location and maximum capacity.

Name of Hydroelectric Dam in India Capacity Location
Tehri Hydropower Complex 2,400 MW Uttarakhand
Koyna Hydroelectric Project 1,960 MW Maharashtra
Srisailam Dam 1,670 MW Andhra Pradesh
Nathpa Jhakri Dam 1,530 MW Himachal Pradesh
Sardar Sarovar Dam 1,450 MW Gujarat
Bhakra Dam 1325 MW Himachal Pradesh
Chamera Dam 1071 MW Himachal Pradesh

Difference between Dams and Reservoirs

A basic difference between dams and reservoirs is that dams are structures that are constructed on a river in order to control water for several purposes (generating electricity, etc.). Whereas, reservoirs are created at the back of a dam.

Another important difference is that dam is a physical structure that holds back water; while a reservoir is a water body that is formed by a dam. Additionally, Dams can be employed to generate hydroelectricity, and reservoirs encourage recreational sports such as fishing and boating.

Dams in India UPSC

Dams in India are beneficial for keeping and circulating water in various places. Students preparing for the IAS exam must know about the major important dams of India along with Rivers and States. Candidates must be well familiarized with Current Affairs for UPSC so as to be cognizant of the recent events happening in the country related to famous dams.

A few Dams in India UPSC sample questions are provided below to assist you to understand the relevance of the topic for various competitive exams and to comprehend the scope and variety asked for in the exam.

Dams in India MCQs

Q1. Hirakud dam, one of the longest dams (length – 25.8 km) in the world is located on the river: (A) Mahanadi, (B) Brahmaputra, (C) Tungabhadra, (D) Godavari
Answer (A) Mahanadi

Q2. Tehri Dam of Uttarakhand has been constructed on the river: (A) Alaknanda, (B) Teesta, (C) Bhagirathi, (D) Ghaggar
Answer (C) Bhagirathi

Q3. Which dam is located on Sutlej river? (1) Koyna Dam, (2) Nagarjuna Sagar, (3) Bhakra Nangal Dam, (4) Gandhisagar Dam
Answer (3) Bhakra Nangal Dam

Q4. Which of the following dams is not on the River Krishna? (A) Alamat, (B) Nagarjunasagar, (C) Krishna Sagar Dam, (D) Srisailam
Answer (C) Krishna Sagar Dam

Q5. Which of the following dams is also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar? (A) Koyna Dam, (B) Thein Dam, (C) Ukai Dam, (D) Pong Dam
Answer (D) Pong Dam

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