Major Water Resources Development Projects in the Narmada Basin Go Back

Sardar Sarovar Project

Narmada basin is the subject of one of the largest basin development schemes in the world. The Sardar Sarovar Project in Narmada basin, India, is one the most ambitious but controversial projects of recent times. In view of the immense importance, the salient features of the project, its benefits, environmental impacts and opposition are described in detail in the following.


Tapping the resources of the Narmada has been the dream of political leaders and development planners for decades. Large parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan face recurrent droughts and there have been instances when water had to be transported by trains to save the people from famine. The idea of constructing dams on the Narmada River was first suggested in 1946. For quite some time, this idea could not materialize because the states did not agree on the distribution of the river water. The then Prime Minister of India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, laid the foundation stone for the Sardar Sarovar dam, a multipurpose project which is the terminal dam of the basin-wide scheme in 1961. This project was delayed and in 1965, a committee was appointed by the Government of India to prepare a detailed plan for the development of the Narmada basin.  The committee recommended the construction of a dam and a canal in Gujarat and twelve major projects in Madhya Pradesh. The two principal dams proposed were the Indira Sagar Dam and the Sardar Sarovar. The recommendations of the committee were endorsed by the Government of Gujarat but rejected by the Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Subsequently in 1969, the issue was referred to the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal which was established under India’s Interstate Water Disputes Act of 1956.  The Tribunal considered the issues for a decade and made its final award in 1979.


This award, which provides for diversion of 11,718.25 million m3 (9.5 million acre-feet, MAF) of water from the reservoir into a canal and irrigation system, has formed the basis for construction of the current Sardar Sarovar Project. Finances for this ambitious project were secured in 1985 when the World Bank entered into credit and loan agreements with the Governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. It provided U.S. $ 450 million for the construction of the dam and the canal. The construction of the dam began in earnest in 1987. Another major project under construction upstream of Sardar Sarovar is the Indira Sagar project.


Sardar Sarovar Project is a multipurpose interstate project of 4 States (Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan) being implemented by Govt. of Gujarat. It is an ambitious and technologically complex irrigation scheme which is to draw upon the flow of the Narmada River to alleviate the water needs of large areas of the state of Gujarat. The project, which is one of the largest water resource projects ever undertaken in India, includes a dam, a riverbed powerhouse, a main canal, a canal powerhouse, and an irrigation network. Its projected impact extends over a large area, and it will potentially affect 25-40 million people.  The components of the project are designed to irrigate a vast area of Gujarat and Rajasthan (although not a basin state, was also later allocated a share of its waters), and to provide drinking water to areas of central and northern Gujarat.  The water is to be delivered by creating a storage reservoir on the Narmada River with a full reservoir level of 138.684 m (455 feet), along with an extensive canal and irrigation system.


The project comprises construction of a 163 m high and 1,200 m long concrete gravity dam across Narmada River near village Kevadia of Distt. Baroda. The top of the dam will be at 146.5 m and the spillway crest level at 121.92 m. The M.W.L. of the Dam is EL 140.21 m. The live storage capacity of the reservoir will be 5,800 MCM. The 458 km long lined canal will irrigate 17.92 lakh hectares of land in Gujarat and will also provide 616 MCM share of water to Rajasthan. The installed capacity of the Bed River Power House is 120 MW and that of Canal Head Power House is 250 MW. The project will also cater domestic water supply needs of 135 towns and 8,215 villages of Gujarat.


At the SSP dam, the maximum spillways discharge capacity is 84,950 cumec. There are 23 bays in the main spillway whose crest gates are 18.30 m x 16.76 m. In the auxiliary spillway, there are 7 bays with radial crest gates of size 18.30 m x 18.30 m.


Design storms recommended for Sardar Sarovar

No. of day/Date

Depth in mm

1st day (28.08.1973)


2nd day (29.08.1973)


3rd day (30.08.1973)


4th day (05.09.1970)


5th day (06.09.1970)


Source: NIH


The dam is being constructed in a hilly region, and the reservoir created behind the dam will resemble a narrow lake extending from the dam over 200 km upstream, submerging approximately 37,533 ha of land in three states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Out of this, 11,300 ha is agricultural, 13,385 ha forest land, and the rest consists of river bed and waste land. While the full impact of the project remains in dispute, it is generally acknowledged that 248 villages will be submerged (33 villages of Maharashtra, 19 of Gujarat, and rest in MP) mostly partially, affecting about 100,000 people. Many of these people, especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra, are considered to be ‘tribals’ and have no formal title to their land.  The number of families likely to be effected due to submergence, based upon 1991 census, are estimated as 40,727; out of these 33,014 are in Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat will be required to resettle 14,124 families of Madhya Pradesh in the command area of the project in Gujarat. The remaining 18,890 families will be resettled in Madhya Pradesh.


A large number of farmers, about 140,000 according to an estimate, will lose land to the canal and irrigation systems.  In addition, thousands of people living downstream will find their lives affected by the project. Weigh this up against the benefits: irrigation of 1.8 million ha, 1,450 MW of hydroelectric power, drinking water to 135 towns and 8,215 villages (some of these suffer frequent droughts), flood protection for 210 villages with an aggregate population of 750,000 and other less important benefits. The area that will be submerged is about 1.65% of the area that will get benefits. The ratio of population displaced to the population benefited is 1:37. Generation of wealth in an area also contributes to general economic development of the area.


The Narmada main canal will be the largest of its kind in the world, extending 450 km to the Rajasthan border and crossing 19 major rivers and 244 railway lines or roads.  With 31 branch canals, the aggregate length of the distribution system will be 75,000 km which will require approximately 80,000 hectares of land.  The main canal will be 250 meters wide at the head and 100 m wide at the border: the capacity of this canal system is such that it will be able to empty the proposed reservoir storage in less than two months. The canal will also transport Narmada water to Saurashtra and Kutch region of Gujarat which are drought prone areas. Many wild life sanctuaries and parks will get water from the project.


Only one-sixth of the project cost is for construction of the dam. An additional equal amount is required for hydro-power installation at the dam and canal bed powerhouse. The other one-third of the cost is for the main canal and the rest is for development of the irrigation network in the command area. For different levels of irrigation efficiency, the internal rate of return was between 16.77 and 21.88 on economic prices of the inputs and outputs and the corresponding benefit-cost ratios between 1.59 and 3.29 (Chitale, 1997). The acceptable levels are 9 and 1, respectively.


The Controversy

The complexity of this project allows for considerable dispute about how to best calculate and compare the projected costs and anticipated benefits.  The project’s proponents emphasize the enormous benefits it is expected to bring to millions of people at the cost of displacing comparatively few.  They ask that these projected benefits – the provision of drinking water to as many as 40 million people and the irrigation of 1.8 million hectares of land – be weighed against the relatively small number of people who will be displaced from land.  From their perspective this balance tilts heavily in favour of the project.


The opponents of the project question both the projected benefits and the cost of the project. They argued that the irrigation benefits have been vastly overestimated and that adequate drinking water may never reach the most needy drought-prone areas of Gujarat, such as Kutch. (It may be noted that water has already reached drought prone areas of Gujarat and has considerably eased the situation). According to them, the economic costs are based on unrealistic figures and have been grossly underestimated.  Also, the human and environmental costs have been vastly underestimated or ignored by mis-reporting the number and the extent to which people will be affected by the project, and disregarding the costs of cultural disruption that will occur when tribal people are moved from their traditional lands. In their opinion, the number of people to be affected must include those living in the submergence area, those displaced by construction of infrastructure, those affected by the canal, and those living downstream whose lives and livelihoods will be affected. The reservoir submergence has ignored the adverse effect on the forest cover.


In the Sardar Sarovar Project, the major concern about compensation has focussed on the category of people identified as “oustee”. An oustee is an individual “whether landed or landless, who since at least one year prior to the date of publication of the notification under the relevant Indian Land Acquisition Act, has been ordinarily residing, or cultivating land, or carrying on any trade, occupation, or calling or working for gain in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, who would be displaced from his usual habitat due to the carrying out of the Project.”  Two factors affect the compensation to which the Sardar Sarovar Project oustee is entitled.  One is the assessment of an oustee’s right to compensation, which is complicated by disparity between the way the government administers, registers, and taxes land and the way people conceive of and use resources.  Secondly, the R&R policies of the three states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra vary in the compensation they give to oustees. The policy of Gujarat is considered to be the most ‘lucrative’. Consequently, the oustees want the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to match their policies with those of Gujarat.


The three states have different norms for treatment of “major” sons (sons over the age of 18), encroachers (those residing on and cultivating land to which they do not have legal title), and the landless.  The Gujarat policy makes no distinction between landed and landless oustees and offers full benefits to major sons.  According to the award of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal, all people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar reservoir have the right to settle in Gujarat, if they so desire. Naturally, so long as Gujarat’s resettlement and rehabilitation benefits are significantly better than those offered by the other two states, most displaced people are apt to take this option. Hence, Madhya Pradesh resettlement plans anticipate that only 10 percent of the displaced people from that state will remain in the state. An unequal compensation is seen to violate the spirit of the Tribunal Award which provides that all oustees may remain in their home states. To do so under current policies would entail a financial sacrifice for some, while relocation to Gujarat would mean for many “a long cultural journey.”  Therefore, while the right of choice still exists in principle, the disparity in benefits means a choice between migration to another state or a lower standard of living.


The concern of compensation dominates the discussions of R&R; there are disagreements about what constitutes full, fair, and appropriate compensation, and further disagreements about whether all the oustees will or can be fully, fairly, and appropriately compensated under prevailing circumstances. The proponents argue that displacement should be treated as a development opportunity and that project-affected people should not only regain their standard of living but also be treated as the first beneficiaries of the project.  Clearly, high costs attached to R&R reduce the cost-benefit ratio, making it more difficult to raise political and financial support.  Even in cases where project benefits make it possible to offer attractive R&R packages, high compensation is opposed by the decision-makers fearing that this will set a precedent of high awards which could not be met by all future projects. Note that the oustees mostly belong to marginal and disempowered communities and R&R requires that all people affected by the project must ‘improve or at least regain the standard of living they were enjoying prior to their displacement’.


The Protests by NGO’s

Meanwhile, a number of Indian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) began opposing the project, mainly on the grounds of environmental, human (tribal) rights, the skewed economics of the project, etc. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is the main opponent. They were later joined by several foreign NGOs. Some NGOs, such as Action Research in Community Health Association (ARCH), who were originally opposed to the project because of insufficient compensation for the affected population, later accepted the improved measures and supported the continuation of construction.


Originally, the campaign against the Sardar Sarovar Project revolved around resettlement issues. Earlier disagreement between the states, mainly about water allocation and the height of the proposed dams, had been resolved amicably by the middle of 1974. After certain clarifications, this was made an award by a Tribunal under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act at the end of 1979. This Tribunal also set out a resettlement and rehabilitation scheme which, at that time, was considered very liberal though the World Bank insisted on even higher standards. Landless farm laborers and so called "encroachers" were to receive 2 ha compensation, often more than the area possessed by the communities among whom they were to be resettled. It had been planned to resettle some of the displaced people on degraded forest land. In the meantime a new "Forest Conservation Act" had been passed in 1980, forbidding any forest land to be diverted to other purposes, unless specifically sanctioned by the Central Government. This led to a shortage of land needed for resettlement.


Gradually, NGOs started to employ radical protest techniques, such as marches, hunger strikes, traffic disruptions, and intimidation of those wanting to be resettled. They even instituted a "mass drowning rather than relocate" campaign at the first village threatened by the rising waters. Much was made of the fact that many of the so called "oustees" were still tribal. A lot of incitation of these relatively primitive people took place. The proponents, however, claim that the tribal families have shown a desire to avail of this development opportunity. The NGOs also started canvassing for foreign support through newspaper articles, talks, and petitions to heads of the governments, the UN, and the donor agencies. All this led to Japan withdrawing its financial support to the project. The World Bank appointed an Independent Review Mission, the first of its kind in the history of the Bank. The report of this mission was interpreted variously by various people; it was criticized by many, e.g., Alagh and Buch (1997), and apparently further complicated the matter. After the World Bank withdrew from the project, the Government of India decided to proceed without external help.


The opponents managed to mobilize a substantial number of people in India and elsewhere against the project, but a large scale popular support for it was shown by about a million people turning up for a pro-project demonstration. Public issue of bonds was floated by the Government of Gujarat to mobilize funds for the project. All the issues were over-subscribed, showing public support to the project.


Project Status

More than 98% of the excavation and 90% of concreting for the main dam were over by 2000. The matter regarding the final height of the dam was considered by the Supreme Court of India. On October 18, 2000, the Supreme Court of India delivered its judgment on the Sardar Sarovar Project. In a 2 to 1 majority judgment, it allowed immediate construction on the dam up to a height of 90 m. Further, the judgment authorized construction up to the originally planned height of 138 m in 5-meter increments subject to receiving approval from the Relief and Rehabilitation Subgroup of the Narmada Control Authority. In 2002 summer, the dam height was allowed to be raised to 95 m. By June 2004, construction of the dam up to EL 110.64 m was completed. Canal head powerhouse has been completed and all five units of 50MW are ready. With the lowest block of the dam attaining an elevation of 110m, 450,000 ha area are receiving irrigation water and power generation will also commence. As per the schedule, the project in all respects is expected to be completed by 2010.


First unit of riverbed powerhouse is likely to begin work in 2006. Construction of Narmada Main Canal up to 357 km is over. As per the plans, the dam is expected to be completed to the EL 138.68 m (top of the dam) by 2006.


Water Supply through Narmada Canal

Major urban centers in Saurashtra region have been badly hit with underground water level in most parts going down to 800 to 1,000 feet. Even at that level, it is mostly brackish water. In summers, Rajkot city, the main nerve center of the Saurashtra region, gets just about a couple of hours supply twice a week. Jamnagar city, the second largest in the region, gets once in three days, and Junagarh every fourth day.


A huge pipeline network based on the SSP’s main canal has been envisaged to supply drinking water. The configuration of the system is shown in Figure 11.8 Only 790 of the total 8,215 villages to be given drinking water from the SSP are in Ahmedabad and the Panchmahals districts.  The rest are in Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat.  Similarly, 120 towns from the total 135 to be supplied drinking water are in the three regions.  Twelve are in Ahmedabad and three in the Panchmahals. Water from the Mahi and the Narmada rivers is to be taken through a pipeline from the Pariyej lake in Kaira district where the water will flow through the Mahi canal and will be distributed at different points in the Saurashtra region to supply 275 million litres of water per day to 1,625 villages and some towns in Ahmedabad, Amreli, Bhavnagar and parts of Rajkot districts.


An escape for Mahi Right Bank Canal (MRBC) had been created from Narmada main canal at chainage of 150 km. The branch canals named, Shedhi and Limbhasi take off from MRBC and end up at Pariej and Kaneval tanks, respectively. A trunk line takes off from Pariej/Kaneval reservoirs and reaches Pipli pumping station. The 103 km long Saurashtra Branch Canal (SBC) takes off from Narmada Main canal at chainage 256.88 km. A pumping station at Dhanki lifts water from SBC at chainage 67 km and supplies it to Maliya Branch Canal (MBC). The total length of all trunk pipelines is 2,722 km. The main pumping stations to lift water for the Narmada-Mahi based Saurashtra pipeline projects are: two pumping stations at Pariej and one at Kaneval. A well organized administrative set up has been created for the drinking water supply projects. Pani Panchayats are being created at village level and they are responsible for O&M of village level facilities with technical assistance from Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB). A SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) System for better control on O & M and running the system with optimum efficiency is being planned.


Significantly, the cumulative benefits of the project are not reflected in the dam’s command area. At present 40 percent water from whatever little is received by all major dams in Saurashtra – has to be reserved for drinking water.  Once that problem is taken care of, more water will be available from these dams for irrigation. This way, actually irrigation spread will improve, while the SSP is already going to irrigate nearly 18 lakh ha of land.


Many websites contain information about this project, for example, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. (www.sardarsarovardam.org), Narmada Control Authority (www.nca.nic.in), Narmada Valley Development Authority http://www.nvda.nic.in/sardarsarovar.htm and an NGO’s site www.narmada.org/sardarsarovar.html.


Salient features of Sardar Sarovar Project.

Watershed area above dam site

88,000 sq. km

Mean annual rainfall

1,120 mm

Annual run-off at 50% dependability

4.10 M ha m

Annual run-off at 75% dependability

3.36 M ha m

Annual run-off at 90% dependability

2.44 M ha m

Designed flood (1 in 1000 years)

87,000 cumec


Full Reservoir Level (FRL)


Maximum Water Level


Minimum Draw Down Level


Normal Tail Water Level


Gross Storage Capacity

0.95 Million ha m

Dead Storage Capacity

0.37 Million ha m

Live Storage Capacity

0.58 Million ha m

Annual evaporation

0.06 Million ha m

Land Submergence at FRL

37,533 ha

Number of villages affected at FRL


Number of families affected at FRL



Indira Sagar Project (ISP)

The Indira Sagar (also known as Narmada Sagar) Project (Punasa, Khandwa District) is a multipurpose project of M.P. on the Narmada River upstream of Sardar Sarovar Project. Its importance arises from the fact that the projects proposed downstream of it, i.e., Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Sardar Sarovar would be able to attain their full potential of irrigation and power generation only after getting regulated releases from ISP.


The Indira Sagar Project envisages construction of a 92 m high and 653 m long concrete gravity dam with a surface power house of 1,000 MW installed capacity (8x125) and a 249 km long canal to provide irrigation in 1.23 lakh ha of C.C.A. in the districts of Khandwa and Khargone.  On completion, a reservoir of 9,744 MCM live storage capacity will be created. Submergence is likely to affect 249 villages, 30,739 families, 40,332 ha of forest and 510,016 ha of other lands. Compensatory afforestation has to be done in 80,945 ha area and catchment area treatment in 30 sub-catchments totaling 62,975 ha in the directly draining area, chargeable to the project.


Salient features of Narmadasagar Project



Catchment area (km2)


Inflow from immediate upstream (MCM)


Gross storage (MCM)


Live storage (MCM)


Dead storage (MCM)


Design flood (cumec)


Maximum water level (m)


Full reservoir level (m)


Minimum drawdown level (m)



Based on the analysis made by NIH and after considering the possibilities of transposition and the different alternate synthetic combination of storms for design purposes, the following storms were recommended for Narmada Sagar which was agreed upon by IMD and CWC.  


Design storms recommended for Narmada Sagar

No. of day/Date

Depth in mm

1st day (28.08.1973)


2nd day (29.08.1973)


3rd day (30.08.1973)


4th day (15.07.1944)


Source: NIH


Omkareshwar Project

The Omkareshwar multipurpose project is situated downstream of ISP on the main Narmada River, near village Mandhata, District Khandwa. The project envisages construction of a 53 m high and 949 m long concrete dam with gated spillways to irrigate 1.468 lakh ha of C.C.A. through a 142 km long L.B.C. and a 64 km long R.B.C. and a 83 km lift canal. Riverbed powerhouse of 520 MW installed capacity (8x65 MW) is proposed on the right bank and the annual generation is likely to be 1166 MU in a 90% dependable year. The reservoir will have approximately 300 MCM live storage capacity, the submergence will affect 30 villages, 5,829 ha forestland, 4,059 ha of private and revenue lands and 3,024 families. Compensatory afforestation in 11,660 ha and catchment area treatment in 79,886 ha has to be done. The cost of the project at 2002 price level is estimated at Rs. 2,225 crore. The construction work is in progress and is expected to be over by Feb. 2008. The power component of project is being taken up by a joint venture with NHPC.


Salient features of Omkareshwar Project



Catchment area (km2)


Inflow from immediate upstream (MCM)


Gross storage (MCM)


Live storage (MCM)


Dead storage (MCM)


Design flood (cumec)


Maximum water level (m)


Full reservoir level (m)


Minimum drawdown level (m)



Maheshwar Hydel Project (M.P.)

The Maheshwar hydel project, located about 40 km downstream of Omkareshwar multi-purpose project on the main Narmada near Mandleshwar town of Madhya Pradesh, envisages construction of a 35 m high concrete dam with a 670 m long spillway.  The dam will have earthen flanks on the left and right banks of lengths 1,573 m and 464 m, respectively.  There will be a surface powerhouse of 400 MW (10x40 MW) on the right bank.


This project has been proposed in the private sector and the work has been awarded to Shri Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited (SMHPCL). A power purchase agreement was signed between SMHPCL and MPEB in 1994.  The revised estimate of the project has pegged to cost to Rs. 1,569 crores.  The project work is under progress.


Salient features of Maheshwar Hydel Project



Catchment area (km2)


Inflow from immediate upstream (MCM)


Gross storage (MCM)


Live storage (MCM)


Dead storage (MCM)


Design flood (cumec)


Maximum water level (m)


Full reservoir level (m)


Minimum drawdown level (m)



Rani Avanti Bai Sagar (Bargi) Project

Bargi (later renamed as Rani Avanti Bai Sagar Project) is a major masonry earth scheme in the head reaches of Narmada River. The project consists of the Bargi dam on the Narmada River near village Bargi in the Jabalpur district 43 km away from Jabalpur city. The latitude and longitude of the dam are 22º 56’ 30" N and 79º 55’ 30" E, respectively. The catchment area up to dam site is 14,556 sq. km and the average annual rainfall in the catchment is 1,414 mm. It is a 69 m high and 5,337 m long composite gravity dam completed in 1980’s. The maximum height of the masonry dam is 69.80 m while that of earth dam is 29 m. The catchment area at the dam site is 14,556 sq. km. The gross, live and dead storage capacity of the reservoir is 3.92 billion cubic meter (B Cum), 3.18 B Cum and 0.740 B Cum respectively. The maximum water level, full reservoir level and the dead storage level of the reservoir are at 425.70 m, 422.76 m and 403.55 m, respectively. The estimated life of the reservoir is 100 years.


The project has been envisaged as a multipurpose scheme meant to serve for water supply for domestic and industrial purposes, irrigation and hydropower generation. One canal system (left bank canal system) is nearing completion and one power plant (River bed power plant) of 2 units of 45 MW each has already been completed for utilizing the stored water of the Bargi reservoir. It has a firm power of 45 MW. The left bank canal takes off from the left flank of the Bargi dam and covers a distance of 137.2 km. The design capacity of the canal is 124.65 cumec. The command area under Bargi LBC lies in Jabalpur and Narsinghpur districts of Madhya Pradesh. There are 4 branch canals, 11 distributaries, 16 minors and 4 sub-minors serving the complete command.


The gross and culturable command area of the left bank canal is 2.574 and 1.57 lakh ha, respectively. Other canal system (right bank canal system) is under construction. The purpose of the right bank canal is to transport 116 M Cum of water for domestic use and around 2,300 M Cum of water for irrigation and interbasin transfer annually. One power house (Canal power house) with a capacity of 15 MW is also proposed to be constructed in the left bank canal system. Annual water requirement from the reservoir through the left bank canal for domestic water supply and irrigation is 54 M Cum and 2,160.1 M Cum, respectively. In addition, annual firm energy requirement from the reservoir is 363 Mkwhr. It has a firm power of 45 MW.


The peak of the design flood hydrograph is 51,510 cumec. According to the reservoir operation manual for the Bargi dam, no provision is made for flood moderation by operation of this dam. The length of river channel between the Bargi dam and the Hoshangabad city is approximately 265 km. For discharging excess water during the flood season, a 385.72 m long spillway has been provided in the centre of the masonry section. 21 nos. of radial gates of size 13.71 m length and 15.25 m height have been provided on this spillway. The shape of overflow section of the spillway has been designed to conform to the shape of lower nappe of water flowing over a sharp crested vertical edge. The spillway has been designed to pass a flood hydrograph having the base period of 7 days and peak inflow of 45,296 cumec. The design flood hydrograph is based on the unit hydrograph concept. The maximum water level at the Bargi dam site has been limited to 424.28 m because of the Mandla township upstream of the Bargi dam.


The water availability at the dam site was estimated based on the discharge data at the Jamtara gauge site. The Jamtara gauge site is located 16 km downstream of the Bargi dam site and has a catchment area of 16,576 sq. km. Systematic gauging has been done at this site since 1949. The average annual inflow at the dam site is 7,197 M Cum. There are 13 raingauge stations in the catchment area. In some of the raingauge stations, rainfall data for nearly 89 years has been recorded. The average annual rainfall in the catchment up to Jamtara is 1,414 mm. Rainfall in the basin mostly occurs during the monsoon months (July to October). During monsoon, 94.09% of the total rainfall of the calendar year occurs.


The reservoir has been classified as hilly. The shape of the reservoir is almost longitudinal. Its longest periphery from the axis is about 80 km. The width at 16 km and 25 km from the axis is 16 km and 3.2 km, respectively.


Tawa Dam

The first major work to be undertaken in the Narmada basin was the Tawa Project. The Tawa project was constructed in 1974 on the Tawa River near village Ranipur in Hoshangabad district. Tawa is a left bank tributary of Narmada River and the catchment area up to dam site is 5,983 sq. km. The dam is operated to supply water for irrigation and municipal uses.  The average annual rainfall for the catchment is 1,564 mm. and the 75% dependable flow is 3,075 MCM.  The gross storage capacity at FRL (355.397 m) is 2,310 MCM while the live storage capacity is 2,050 MCM.  The maximum water level for this dam is 356.66 m. The peak of design flood hydrograph for the dam is 36800 cumec. The actual observed maximum flood was 24,300 cumec in 1961.


It is a composite dam of earth and masonry 1,630 m long with two dykes of 185 m length each and of a maximum height of 57.95 m.  The gross storage in the reservoir is 2,311 m cu. m of which the live storage is 2,087 m cu. m.  The dam is operated to supply water for irrigation and municipal uses. There are canals, one on each bank.  The left bank canal is 120 km and the right bank canal 76.85 km long.  The total irrigation is expected to be of the order of 331,854 ha. The project will provide irrigation to about 121,406 ha in the first phase. There is a facility to generate hydropower through a power house with installed capacity of 13 MW.


Waterlogging study in Tawa basin was made by NIH in 1988. The results show that an area of 80 sq. km was affected by waterlogging and about 140 sq. km area where water table lies in between depth of 1 to 3 m was prone to waterlogging. It is suggested that periodic assessment of waterlogging using remotely sensed data should be carried out on a regular basis.


Barna Dam

The dam is located near village Bari of Tehsil Bareli (near National Highway 12, connecting Bhopal to Jabalpur) in Raisen district and was completed in 1978. It is located on Barna River which is a right bank tributary of Narmada River. The total catchment area of the dam is 1,176 sq. km. The gross storage capacity at FRL (348.55 m) is 539.00 MCM and the live storage capacity is 455.80 MCM. Barna dam is 432 m long and 47.7 m high at the deepest section. The main canal will be 38 km long and it will irrigate 60,290 ha. The design flood of the dam is 13,557 cumec. The maximum discharge observed at the dam site in 1965 was 11,480 cumec.


Barna project is an irrigation project of Madhya Pradesh. On the right of the main dam, there is a saddle dam from which a 0.67m long joint water carrying canal emerges. From this canal two branch canals take off from the left and right banks for irrigating the command area falling on its left and right banks, respectively. The irrigation infrastructure has greatly improved the irrigation potential in the command and benefited the farmers.


The project does not provide flood protection.  However, through judicious and cautious reservoir operation, peaks can be moderated to some extent to subside the damage and submergence of life and properties in the downstream of the dam site, especially near Barlei township.


Kolar Dam

Kolar dam has been constructed near the Lawakheri Village. It has a gross storage capacity of 270 MCM and live storage of 260 MCM. Water from the reservoir is being used to provide drinking water to the city of Bhopal which lies at a distance of 30 km towards north. Water from the dam is envisaged to provide irrigation to an area of 610 million sq. m.  For this purpose, a barrage has been constructed in the basin near Jholiapur from where two canals take off.


In addition to the above projects, there are some other small projects and projects are under construction.