11 Mega Dams In India Constructed For Fresh Water Supply

There are over 5,200 dams spread across different states in India, which prevent floods and help supply the stored water for irrigation facilities. These dams are also used for industrial and domestic purposes.

From providing clean drinking water to the people, to producing hydro-powered electricity, the usage of dams is countless and can not be limited by these given examples. 

The reach of the dam’s importance is far greater than that, as they are directly linked to the economical development of a state. So, here is a list of the most important dams in India that you should know about.

Bhavani Sagar Dam – Tamil Nadu

It’s one of the largest earthen dams in the world. Built on the bhavani river, it’s also widely known as the “Lower Bhavani Dam”. 130 ft tall and 8.4 km long, the construction of the dam began in 1948 and was completed by 1955, with a cost of US $2.9 million of that time.

The dam is India’s first major irrigation project. It’s now used for producing hydro-electric power as well, with a total capacity of generating 16 mega watts of electricity.

Tehri Dam – Uttarakhand

This dam comes under the list of tallest dams in India. It’s constructed on the Bhagirathi river, near Tehri in Uttarakhand. It’s a multi-purpose rock & earth-fill embankment dam. It’s 855 ft high and 1,886 ft wide.

The construction of the dam began in 1978, and came into being in 2006, at a cost of Rs 1656 crore of that time. The dam is now used for withholding a reservoir for irrigation, drinking water, and the generation of 1,000 megawatts of hydro-powered electricity.

Hirakud dam – Odisha

Hirakud Dam – Odisha

The Hirakud dam is built across the Mahanadi River, in the state of Orisha. It’s the longest dam in India with a total length of 4.8 km. After a devastating flood in 1936, the project was first proposed in 1937. But it took 11 years for the construction of the dam to begin.

It’s one of the first multi purpose river valley projects in Inida, after independence. The dam has a storage capacity of holding 5.8 cubic kilometre of water. It was constructed to help fight the periodic droughts from happening in the central region of Chhattisgarh.

Bhakra Nangal Dam – Himachal Pradesh

Bhakra Nangal Dam is the third largest reservoir in India. In terms of water storing capacity, the dam can hold up to 9.34 billion cubic metres of water. It’s located at Bhakra village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The dam is one of the highest gravity dams in the world, with a height of 741 meters.

It’s 518.25 meters long and 9.1 meters wide, and spreading over an area of 168.35 square kilometre. The construction of the dam began in 1948 and came into being in 1963. It’s built on the Sutlej river. The total project cost of the dam is reported to be around Rs 245.28 crore.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Andhra Pradesh

Jointly operated by the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is a masonry dam, constructed on the Krishna river. It straddles the border between the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and the Nalgonda district of Telangana.

In terms of water storing capacity, the dam has a capacity of holding 11.47 billion cubic meters of water. Its scenic beauty and religious importance make the dam one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

The construction of the dam was started in 1955 and completed till 1967, making it as old as an entire generation. The estimated cost of the dam was said to be Rs 133 crore of that time.

Sardar Sarovar Dam – Gujarat

Sardar Sarovar Dam is one of the largest dams ever built on the river Narmada. It’s also called – The Lifeline Of Gujarat.

It’s a concrete gravity dam located at the Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat. This is the second-largest dam in the world regarding volume and size, with the highest spillway discharge capacity of 20.7 lakh cumecs. 

The construction of the dam began in 1987 and was completed after 30 years of hard work in 2017. It was the most controversial project in India, the construction of the dam was stalled many times throughout the entire period of making it.

Tungabhadra Dam – Karnataka

It’s the only dam ever constructed in India that’s built without using any concrete and cement. It is a multipurpose dam made on the Tungabhadra River, located in Hosapete, Vijayanagara district of Karnataka.

It’s a multi-purpose dam, helping supply the stored water in irrigation facilities and produce hydroelectric power. In terms of spillway capacity, it can discharge about 6.5 lakh cubic meters of water per second.

The construction of the dam was started in 1949 and was completed in 1953, taking four years to make the entire structure. It is about 49.5 meters in height and has about 33 crest gates.

Rihand Dam – Uttar Pradesh

In terms of volume, Rihand dam is the largest in India. It is a concrete gravity dam, located at Pipri in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. It’s built on the Rihand river. Length wise, the dam is 934 meters long, and height is 91.46 meters.

The construction of the dam was started in 1954 and completed in 1962.The dam is used for generating hydro-powered electricity with an installed capacity of 300 megawatts. The dam has the capacity of storing 10.6 billion cubic meters of water, making it the largest dam by volume.

Koyna Dam – Maharashtra

Koyna dam is one of the biggest dams of Maharashtra state in India. It is a rubble-concrete dam, built on the Koyna river, located at Koyna Nagar in Satara district in the western Ghats. The dam was constructed to supply the stored water for irrigation use in the neighboring areas, as well as to produce hydro-powered electricity.

The construction of the dam began in 1956 and was completed in 1964. Today the dam is the largest completed hydroelectric power plant in India, with a total installed capacity of 1,960 megawatts. 

Kallanai Dam – Tamil Nadu

Kallanai Dam – Tamil Nadu

Kallani dam (also known as the Grand Anicut) is an ancient dam in India. It stands 18ft high on the Kaveri river, located in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. It was built during the period of the Chola dynasty, in 100 BC – 100 AD making it the 4th oldest water regulator in the world.

The purpose of the dam construction was to originally divert the waters of the Kaveri river to the delta district to facilitate irrigation. This dam was re-modeled by the British during the 19th century.

Mettur Dam – Tamil Nadu

The Mettur dam is located across the Cauvery river, where it enters the plain. It is one of the largest dams in India, also the largest in Tamil Nadu. 

The construction of the dam was started in 1934, and took 9 years to complete in 1943. The dam is 214 feet high and 171 feet wide. It supplies the stored water for irrigation facilities for more than 12 districts of Tamil Nadu. 

Faqs – Frequently Ask Questions 

How Many Dams Are There In India?

According to the CWC (Center Water Commision) report in 2019, there are an estimated 5,334 large dams in India currently in operation, and 411 are under construction. 

However, India has several thousands of other smaller dams that are not well known. Thus, in terms of total number of active dams, India ranks third globally.

Which Is The Biggest And Largest Dam Of India?

Constructed on the Bhagirathi river, the Tehri dam is the biggest and largest dam in India. It’s 855 ft high and 1,886 ft wide.

How Many Big Dams Are There In India?

As per the Center Water Commision report in 2019, there are 5,334 big and large dams in India currently in operation.

Which Is The Most Dangerous Dam In India?

The Tehri dam, which was constructed on the Bhagirathi river is said to be the most dangerous dam in India. Because the dam sits on an active seismic fault, and it has already developed some cracks. A slight landslide or earthquake can collapse the dam leading to a catastrophic disaster.

Which State Has The Highest Dam In India?

Maharashtra has by far the highest number of dams in India. It has a total of 2,354 operational dams. Where 2,069 are completed, and 285 are under construction. This is 41.29% of the entire number of large dams of India.

Which Is The Longest Dam In India?

Built on the Mahanadi river, Hirakud dam is the longest dam in India, with a total length of whooping 4.8 kilometers.