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Multipurpose River Valley Projects – Objectives, List of River Valley Projects in India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 11th, 2023

The Multipurpose River Valley Projects in India are water resource projects planned to perform various purposes, including navigation, flood control, irrigation, etc. It has a significant role in framing the economy of the country. Most of India’s multipurpose river valley projects focus on two important factors, i.e., hydroelectric power plants and irrigation.

The prominent rivers in India, along with their geographical structure, play a vital role in constructing these multipurpose river valley projects in India. These projects are built on mountain slope areas with concrete and stones to control the river water. Check out the important multipurpose river valley projects in India and their objectives.

What is the Multipurpose River Valley Project?

Multipurpose river valley projects are single projects that are used for multiple benefits. Initially, it involves the construction of dams for storing rainwater and its utilization in dry areas for agricultural purposes.

Multipurpose Projects in India PDF

However, these projects have been used to grow the agricultural and industrial sectors, especially for generating power after the introduction of advanced technology. Thus, it contributes a significant amount to economic development.

List of Multipurpose River Valley Projects

Damodar Valley Project was the first multipurpose river valley project in India. There are more than 70 multipurpose river valley projects constructed on the major River System in India. The list of important multipurpose river valley projects in India, along with their respective states, are as listed as follows-

Multipurpose River Valley Projects States Comments
Bhakra Nangal Project Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan It supplies water to support irrigation in Punjab
Chambal Project Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan It includes two dams- Jawahar Sagar Dam and Gandhi Sagar Dam
Koyna Project Maharashtra It is the largest completed hydroelectric power plant in India.
Damodar Valley Project West Bengal, Jharkhand It is the most prominent multipurpose power project in Jharkhand.
Farakka Barrage West Bengal It is the largest Barrage in India.
Hirakud Dam Odisha It is the first multipurpose river valley project of free India.
Indira Gandhi Canal Punjab, Rajasthan It is the longest canal in India
Nagarjuna Sagar Project Andhra Pradesh It is the world’s largest masonry dam.
Rihand Project Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh The installed capacity is 300MW.
Ranjit Sagar Dam Punjab It is one of the largest multipurpose river valley projects in Ravi.
Tungabhadra Hydroelectric Project Karnataka It has a height of 49.5 meters with an installed capacity of 72MW.
Kakrapara Project Gujarat It has a nameplate capacity of 1034 MW.

Important River Valley Project in India

Following are the details about a few important Multipurpose River Valley Projects in India.

Bhakra Nangal Project

Bhakra Nangal Project is one of the biggest multipurpose river valley projects in India that was combinedly started by Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab over the Satluj river in Himachal Pradesh.

It includes two dams- Nangal and Bhakra dam. The sole purpose of the Bhakra Nangal Project’s hydropower and irrigation, and it generates 1204 MW of electricity. Also, the project’s canal system irrigates 14.8 lakh hectares.

Chambal Project

The Chambal project is a project jointly executed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh that produces 368 MW of power. It involves three dams-

  • Gandhi Sagar Dam- In the project’s first stage, the 115 MW power station of the Gandhi Sagar Dam, along with the Kota barrage, was completed.
  • Rana Pratap Sagar Dam– In the second stage, the dam’s powerhouse with 172 MW capacity was inaugurated.
  • Jawahar Sagar Dam– In the project’s third phase, the Jawahar Sagar dam with a 99 MW power station was completed.

Damodar Valley Project

Damodar Valley Project is a cooperative project established in 1948 and administered by the Damodar Valley Corporation. It is an important multipurpose river valley project in India.

The project is executed by Jharkhand and West Bengal for power generation, flood control, and irrigation. This is one of the earliest projects, with a power capacity of 1181 MW and an irrigation potential of 5.51 lakh hectares.

Koyna Project

Koyna Project is India’s largest completed hydroelectric project, constructed on the Koyna Nagar in Maharastra’s Satara District.

  • It consists of four dams, one of which is the largest constructed dam among the various Dams in India, with a height of 208ft.
  • The total power generation capacity of the Koyna Project is 1960 MW.

Farakka Barrage – Important Multipurpose River Valley Project in India

Farakka Barrage is a barrage located in the Murshidabad district, West Bengal. It consists of two barrages across Ganga and Bhagirathi to preserve and maintain the Calcutta port.

The primary connectivity line between these two barrages is the road-cum-rail-bridge. The barrage was constructed to cut cubic meters per second of water from Ganga to the Hooghly river.

Indira Gandhi Canal

Indira Gandhi Canal was established as the Rajasthan Canal in 1958. It is one of the biggest irrigation projects in India that provides irrigation facilities to a few parts of the country, including the Thar desert and northwestern parts of Rajasthan.

It consists of a 215 km long feeder canal and 445 long central canal that spreads throughout the state. Indira Gandhi Canal irrigates 14.5 lakh hectares.

Hirakud Dam

The first multipurpose river valley project of free India is the Hirakud dam, constructed on the Mahanadi river in Sambalpur, Odisha. It is the longest dam, with a length of 4801.2m, built for the purpose of flood control, irrigation, and power generation in the coastal parts of Odisha. It has an installed power capacity of 27.2 MW.

Ranjit Sagar Dam

The Ranjit Sagar Dam, also known as Thien Dam, is a part of Punjab’s government hydroelectricity project on river Ravi. It is constructed on approx 24 km upstream of Madhopur Headworks in an idyllic and serene location in the Pathankot district of Punjab. It has an installed capacity of 600MW.

Nagarjuna Sagar Project

Nagarjuna Sagar Project is a project constructed by the Andhra Pradesh government for proper water utilization, situated in Nalgonda District.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is 1450m in length and has a height of 92m. It provides irrigation water to Prakasam, Guntur, West Godavari, Khammam, Palnadu, Eluru, Bapatla, NTR, Krishna, Suryapet, and Nalgonda districts. Nagarjuna Sagar Project is estimated to irrigate 8.95 lakh hectares.

Kakrapara Project

Kakrapara Project is a nuclear power station constructed in Tapti, Surat, under the administration of the government of Gujarat. The project is 14m high and 621m long. It was built in two phases-

  • Phase 1– KAPS-1 and 2 were constructed with a gross MW of 220.
  • Phase 2– KAPS-3 and 4 were constructed with a gross MW of 700.

Tungabhadra Hydroelectric Project

Tungabhadra Hydroelectric Project is constructed in the Ballari district of Karnataka across the Tungabhadra river for flood control, electricity generation, and irrigation. The project’s height is 49.5m, and it has an installed power capacity of 72 mW. The storage capacity of the reservoir is 101 TMC.

Rihand Project

Rihand Project includes the construction of the concrete dam in Uttar Pradesh across the Rihand River. Along with the dam concentration, it contains necessary transmission lines and a powerhouse at Pipri.

Objectives of the Multipurpose River Valley Project

Multipurpose river valley projects serve various objectives like soil conservation, electricity generation, irrigation, fish breeding, flood control, etc. The advantages of the multipurpose river valley projects in India are as follows-

  • Flood Control: As water is stored in such projects, these projects help to control the flood.
  • Generation of Power: It results in the generation of clean, pollution-free, and economical energy.
  • Soil Conservation: It decreases the speed of the water, thus, conserving the soil.
  • Irrigation: The water stored in the dams is utilized for irrigating dry areas.
  • Fisheries: It creates an ideal condition for fish breeding of chosen variety.
  • Tourist Centers: Since these projects are developed scientifically and cared for well, it becomes the center of attraction for tourists.

Multipurpose River Valley Projects in India have got a lot of advantages. However, there are specific challenges that are causing a delay in achieving its objectives. Because of the change in patterns of rainfall in India in the catchment areas, there are challenges in the way flood control. Floods decrease the storage capacity in the reservoir, and all these factors have increased the management crisis.

Challenges of Multipurpose River Valley Projects

The multipurpose river valley projects end up having several drawbacks and thus pose many challenges for themselves and the surrounding environment. Some of the challenges of these multipurpose river valley projects are as follows-

  • Due to their activity, the usual river flow is obstructed which leads to heavy sedimentation.
  • The aquatic environment is also disturbed due to these projects.
  • The initial cost of these multipurpose river projects is very high which is a big challenge in order to carry on with the project in long run.
  • The quality of the soil is also affected to a great extent by these projects.
  • In a few instances, there also have been issues between various states due to the relocation of the local people.

Multipurpose River Valley Projects UPSC

Multipurpose river valley projects are essential for the economy and also serve numerous other benefits. The questions related to this topic can be asked in prelims and mains exams. The detailed knowledge of the projects will enable the candidates in analyzing the questions and choosing the right answer. Some of the famous multipurpose river valley projects are; the Bhakhra Nangal Project, Chambal Project, Koyna Project, Damodar Valley Project, etc.

MCQs on Multipurpose River Valley Projects

The Multipurpose River Valley Projects is an essential topic for the UPSC syllabus. The candidates must be well-acquainted with the details of the topic to prepare well for the exam. Check here the MCQ questions related to the multipurpose river valley project and test your preparation level.

Question: Which hydroelectric project is established on River Krishna? [A] Baspa Hydroelectric Project, [B] Almatti Dam [C] Chamera Hydro-Electric Project [D] Bhadra Reservoir Project

Answer: (Option B) Almatti Dam

Question: Which of the following is the longest dam in the world? [A] Bhakhra-Nangal Dam [B] Tehri Dam [C] Hirakund Dam [D] Nagarjun Dam

Answer: (Option C) Hirakud Dam

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