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Multi -purpose River Valley Projects And Integrated Water Resources Management

Our ancient religious texts and epics give a good insight into the water storage and conservation systems that prevailed in those days.

Grand Anicut built by Karikala Chola in 2


We are continuing this tradition by constructing dams on most our rivers.

Initially dams were built to just store the rain water and later use it for irrigation, but now these dams are built to solve many problems.

The advantages of a multi-purpose project are:

  • Flood control
  • Soil conservation
  • Afforestation
  • Development of irrigation facilities
  • Generation of hydro electric power at the dam sites.
  • Development of transportation facilities in the area..like roads, rail
  • routes and even navigation on the canals.
  • General development of the area's agriculture, industries and services
  • Development of recreational facilities such as boating , swimming etc.
  • on the reservoirs.leading to development of tourism
  • Fish culture in the reservoirs.

These multi-purpose projects integrate the development of agriculture and the village economy with rapid industrialisation and growth of the urban economy.

This is the reason why Jawaharlal Nehru proudly proclaimed multi-purpose projects as 'temples of modern India'.




Problems associated with Multi-purpose river valley projects.

These projects also generally displace hundreds of not millions of people from very fertile land thus reducing the productivity of these people. They take away their livelihood and their homes of many generations. Communities along the river are flooded and must relocate.

Excellent fields, orchards and forests may be lost.


Fish lose natural habitat such as gravelly areas to lay eggs . Migratory fish are destroyed because they can't navigate past the dam.

The still water becomes warmer that moving water and this can increase unwanted flora (algae, moss, weeds) and unhealthy bacteria.

Dams have also led to inter-state water disputes with regard to sharing the costs and benefits of the project.

Dams have triggered floods due to sedimentation in the catchment area.

Some of the dams have failed to control floods during excessive railfall.

Prevents the deposition of silt in the lower reaches of the river.

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