IAS Gyan



1st May, 2022 Prelims


What is a Dam?

A dam is a barrier that stops the flow of water and results in the creation of a reservoir. Dams are mainly built in order to produce electricity by using water. This form of electricity is known as hydroelectricity.

Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability.

The earliest known dam is the Jawa Dam in Jordan, dating to 3,000 BC.

Types of Dams

Based on the structure the types of dams are as mentioned below:

  1. Arch Dam: An arch dam is a concrete dam that is curved upstream in the plan. It is designed so that the hydrostatic pressure (force of the water against it presses against the arch, causing the arch to straighten slightly and strengthening the structure as it pushes into its foundation or abutments.
  2. Gravity Dam: This dam is constructed of concrete or stone masonry, which relies on its weight for stability are known as Gravity Dams. A gravity dam built up of boxes crossed timbers or gabions filled with earth or rock. A concrete gravity dam is constructed by the use of a dry mix of concrete transported by conventional construction equipment and compacted by rolling. These are designed in such a way that each section of the dam is stable and independent of other sections.
  3. Arch-Gravity Dam: A gravity dam can be combined with an arch dam into an Arch-gravity dam for areas with massive amounts of water flow but less material available for a pure gravity dam. The inward compression of the dam by the water reduces the lateral (horizontal) force acting on the dam. Thus, the gravitational force required by the dam is lessened, so that the dam does not need to be so massive. This enables thinner dams and saves resources.
  4. Concrete-face Rock-fills Dams- A concrete-face rock-fill dam (CFRD) is a rock-fill dam with concrete slabs on its upstream face. This design provides the concrete slab as an water-resistant wall to prevent leakage and also a structure without concern for uplift pressure. Also, the CFRD design is flexible for topograph and faster to construct. even they are less costly than earth-fill dams. The CFRD concept of Concrete-face rock fills dams was originated during the California Gold Rush in the 1860.
  5. Barrages: A barrage is a type of low-head, diversion dam which consists of a number of large gates that can be opened or closed to control the amount of water passing through. A barrage dam is a special kind of dam that consists of a line of large gates that can be opened or closed to control the amount of water passing the dam. The gates are set between flanking piers which are responsible for supporting the water load, and are often used to control and stabilize water flow for irrigation systems.
  6. Embankment Dams: An embankment dam is a large artificial dam. It is typically created by the placement and compaction of a complex semi-plastic mound of various compositions of soil, sand, clay, or rock. It has a semi-pervious waterproof natural covering for its surface and a dense, impervious core. An embankment dam is a type of dam in which more than 50 % of the total volume is formed of compacted earth material generally smaller than 3-inch size. It has a semi-pervious waterproof natural covering for its surface and a dense, impervious core.
  7. Rock-Fills Dams: Rock-fill dams are embankments of compacted free-draining granular earth with an impervious zone.
  8. Concrete-face rock-fill dams: A concrete-face rock-fill dam (CFRD) is a rock-fill dam with concrete slabs on its upstream face.
  9. Earth-fill dams: Earth-fill dams, also called earthen dams, rolled-earth dams or simply earth dams, are constructed as a simple embankment of well-compacted earth.
  10. Buttress Dam: This type of dam was originally built to retain water for irrigation or mining. This type of structure is made of reinforced concrete and is supported on the downstream side by a series of buttresses or supports which are placed at certain intervals. The wall of this type of dam is straight or curved in shape. The pressure of the water pushes against the dam, but the buttresses are inflexible and in this way, it helps to prevent the dam from falling over. This type of concept introduces from the Roman period, they use this type of dam to increase the stability of a dam wall. In the early 20th Century, Buttress dams of slab concrete construction became popular in the United States.
  11. Coffer Dam: To create a dry working environment within a water body (i.e. River, ocean, etc) so that the work can be carried out safely, this kind of dam is generally built within the body of water. For the repair or construction of dams, bridges, piers, etc., this type of dam is needed. Cofferdams are a welded steel structures, with components consisting of cross braces, sheet piles, and wales. Such structures are usually separated into pieces after the construction work is completed.

Dams in Andhra Pradesh




Kalyani Dam

Swarnamukhi River

Tirupati (Chittoor Dist)

Kandaleru Dam

Kandaleru River

Rapur Mandal (Nellore Dist)

Srisailam Dam

Krishna River


Somasila Dam

Penna River

Somasila (Nellore dist)

Veligallu Dam

Papagni River

Galiveedu (kadappa Dist)

Jalaput Dam

Godavari river


Polavaram dam

Godavari river

East Godavari District

Nagarjuna Sagar dam

Krishna River


Mylavaram dam

Krishna River


Dams in Arunachal Pradesh

Dibang Dam (Under Construction)

Dibang River

Lower Dibang Valley Dist

Ranganadi Dam

Ranganadi River


Subansiri Dam

Subansiri River

Lower Subansiri dist

Dams in Bihar

Chandan Dam

Chandan River

Banka Dist

Durgawati Dam

Durgawati River

Bhabhua (Kaimur Dist)

Nagi Dam

Nagi River

Jamui Dist

Dams in Chhattisgarh

Gangrel Dam

Mahanadi River

Dhamtari Dist

Kutaghat Dam

Kharang River

Bilaspur Dist

Minimata (Hasdeo) Bango Dam

Hasdeo River

Korba Dist

Dudhawa Dam

Mahanadi River

Dhamtari Dist

Dams in Gujarat

Dantiwada Dam

Banas River

Banaskantha Dist

Kandana Dam

Mahi River

Panchmahal Dist

Kamleshwar Dam

Hiran River

Gir National Park (Junagadh Dist)

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Narmada River

Narmadha Valley

Ukai Dam

Tapti River

Surat Dist

 Dams in Punjab

Nangal Dam

Sutlej River


Damsal Dam

Damsal River


Ranjit Sagar (Thein) Dam

Ravi River


Siswan Dam

Siswan Khad


Dams in Himachal Pradesh

Bhakra Dam

Sutlej River


Chamera Dam

Ravi River


Maharana Pratap Sagar Dam

Beas River


Pandoh Dam

Beas River


Dams in Jammu & Kashmir

Baglihar Dam

Chenab River


Cholal Dam

Cholal Choe River


Shalal Dam

Chenab River


Uri Dam

Jhelum River


Dams in Jharkhand

Konar Dam

Konar River


Maithon Dam

Barakar River


Panchet Dam

Damodar River


Tenughat Dam

Damodar River


Dams in Karnataka

Almatti Dam

Krishna River

Basavana Bagevadi

Bhadra Dam

Bhadra River

Lakkavalli (Chikkamangaluru Dist)

Hemavathi Dam

Hemavathi River


Hidkal Dam

Ghataprabha River


Lakhya Dam

Lakhya River


Linganamakki Dam

Sharavathi River


Malaprabha Dam

Malaprabha River


Supa Dam

Kalinadi(kali) River


Tunga Bhadra Dam

Thunga Bhadra River


Dams in Kerala

Cheruthoni Dam

Cheruthoni River


Idamalayar Dam

Edamalayar/Periyar River


Idukki Arch Dam

Periyar River

Kuravan and Kurathi (Idukki Dist)

Kulamavu Dam

Kaliyar River


Kakki Dam

Kakki River


Malampuzha Dam

Malampuzha river


Mullaiperiyar Dam

Periyar River


Parambikulam Dam

 Parambikulam River


Neyyar Dam

Neyyar River


Dams in Madhya Pradesh

Bansagar Dam

Sone River


Bargi Dam

Narmada River


Gandhi Sagar Dam

Chambal River


Indira Sagar Dam

Narmada River

Mundi (Khandwa Dist)

Madikheda Dam

Sindh River


Omkareshwar Dam

Narmada River

Mandhata (Khandwa Dist)

Tawa Dam

Tawa River


Dams in Maharastra

Bhatsa Dam

Bhatsa & Chorna River


Isapur Dam

Penganga River


Jayakwadi(Paithan) Dam

Godavari River

Jayakwadi (Aurangabad)

Koyna Dam

River Koyna

Koyna Nagar (Satara Dist)

Totladoh Dam

Pench River


Ujjani (Bhima) Dam

Bhima River


Warna Dam

Warna River

Sangli Dist

Dams in Odisha

Hirakud Dam (Longest Dam in India)

Mahanadi River


Indravati Dam

Indravati River


Kapur Dam

Kapur River


Mandira Dam

Sankha River


Muran Dam

Muran River


Podagada Dam

Podagada River


Rengali Dam

Brahmni River


Upper Kolab Dam

Kolab River



 Dams in Rajasthan

Bisalpur Dam

Banas River


Jawahar Sagar Dam

Chambal River


Jawai Dam

Jawai River


Mahai Bajaj Sagar Dam

Mahi River


Rana Pratap Sagar Dam

Chambal River


Dams in Tamil Nadu

Aliyar Dam

Aliyar River

Pollachi (Coimbatore Dist)

Amaravathi Dam

Amaravathi River

Udumalpet (Tirupur Dist)

Bhavani Sagar Dam

Bhavani River

Erode Dist

Mettur Dam

Cauveri River

Mettur (Salem Dist)

Sholaiyar Dam

Sholaiyar River

Valparai (Coimbatore Dist)

Vaigai Dam

Vaigai River

Periyakulam (Theni Dist)

Dams in Telangana

Manair Dam

Manair River


Nizam sagar Dam

Manjira River


Ramagundam Dam

Godavari River


Singur Dam

Manjira River


Sriram Sagar Dam

Godavari River


Dams in Uttar Pradesh

Dhanraul Dam

Ghaghar River

Roberts ganj

Matatila Dam

Betwa River


Parichha Dam

Betwa River


Rajghat Dam

Betwa River


Rihand Dam

Rihand River

Pipri (Sonbhadra Dist)

Ganges Barrage

Ganges River


Dams in Uttarakhand

Tehri dam

Bhagirathi river

New Tehri

Lakhwar dam

Yamuna River


Koteshwar dam

Bhagirathi river

New Tehri

Tapovan Vishnugad dam

Dhauliganga river


Dams in West Bengal

Durgapur Barrage

Damodar River


Farakka Barrage

Ganges River


Mukutmanipur Dam

Kangasabati, Kumari


Panchet Dam

Damodar River



Oldest Dam in India Kallanai Dam(Tamil Nadu)

  • River: Kaveri
  • Location: Tamil Nadu
  • Construction Began/Completion: 100 BC –100 AD


Highest Dam in India Tehri Dam (Uttarakhand)

  • Height: 260 meters
  • Length: 575 meters
  • River: Bhagirathi River
  • Location: Uttarakhand
  • Year of completion:2006 (1st phase)


Longest Dam in India Hirakud Dam (Odisha)

  • Total Length: 25.79 km
  • Length of Main Dam:4.8 km
  • River: Mahanadi
  • Location: Odisha
  • Year of completion:1953

Major Reservoirs in India




Dindi Reservoir


Krishna River

Lower Manair Reservoir


Manair River

Tatipudi Reservoir Project

Andhra Pradesh

Gosthani River

Gandipalem Reservoir

Andhra Pradesh

Manneru River

Himayat Sagar Reservoir


Osman Sagar

Shriram Sagar Reservoir


Godavari River

Gobind Sagar Reservoir

Himachal Pradesh

Sutlej River

Maharana Pratap Sagar Reservoir

Himachal Pradesh

Pong Dam Lake

Ghataprabha Reservoir


Ghataprabha River

Hemavathi Reservoir


Hemavati River

Tawa Reservoir

Madhya Pradesh

Tawa River

Balimela Reservoir


Sileru River

Aliyar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Aliyar River

Chittar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Chittar River

Krishnagiri Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Thenpennai River

Manimuthar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Tamirabarani River

Pechiparai Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Kodayar River

Shoolagiri Chinnar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Chinnar River

Thunakadavu Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Thunacadavu River

Varattu Pallam Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Kaveri River

Vidur Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Sankaraparani River

Amaravathi Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Amaravathi River

Gundar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Berijam Lake

Kullursandai Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Arjuna Nadi

Pambar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Pambar River

Periyar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Periyar River

Stanley Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Kaveri River

Uppar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Uppar River

Vattamalaikarai Odai Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Odai River

Willingdon Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Periya Odai River

Bhavanisagar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Bhavani River

Kodaganar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Kodagananar River

Manimukthanadhi Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Krishna River

Parambikulam Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Parambikulam River

Sholayar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Chalakkud River

Thirumurthi Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Parmabikulam and Aliyar River

Varadamanadhi Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Aliyar River

Vembakottai Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Vaippar River

Manjalar Reservoir

Tamil Nadu

Manjalar River

Salal Project

Jammu and Kashmir

Chenab River

Chutak Hydroelectric Project

Jammu and Kashmir

Suru River

Indirasagar Project

Madhya Pradesh

Narmada River

Narmada Dam Project

Madhya Pradesh

Narmada River

Rihand Project

Uttar Pradesh

Rihand River and Son River


India ranks 3rd throughout the globe for the largest dams after US and China. While some of these biggest dams were constructed for flood control, water supply, and hydroelectric power generation, the primary purpose of most of these dams remains irrigation.

Lаrgest  Dаms  In  Indiа

Tehri  Dаm  (Uttаrаkhаnd) 

Tehri  Dаm,  the  8th  tаllest  dаm  in  the  wоrld,  is  lосаted  оn  the  Bhаgirаthi  River,  Uttаrаkhаnd.  It  is  the  lаrgest  dаm  in  Indiа,  hаving  а  height  оf  261  meters  аnd  length  оf  575  meters.  It  is  аn  embаnkment  dаm  thаt  is  mаde  frоm  sоlid  rосks  аnd  eаrth  fills.


It  is    260.5  m  (855  ft)  high  shаke  аnd  embаnkment  dаm.  Its  length  is  575  m  (1,886  ft),  рeаk  width  20  m  (66  ft),  аnd  bаse  width  1,128  m  (3,701  ft).  The  dаm  mаkes  а  stоre  оf  4.0  сubiс  kilоmeters  (3,200,000  асre⋅ft)  with  а  surfасe  regiоn  оf  52  km2  (20  sq  mi).


The  intrоduсed  hydrо  сарасity  is  1,000  MW  аlоngside  аn  extrа  1,000  MW  оf  siрhоned  stосkрiling  hydrоeleсtriсity.    The  lоwer  reроsitоry  fоr  the  siрhоned  stосkрiling  рlаnt  is  mаde  by  the  Kоteshwаr  Dаm  dоwnstreаm.


Bhаkrа  Nаngаl 

А  соnсrete  grаvity  dаm,  the  Bhаkrа  Nаngаl  Dаm  is  lосаted  асrоss  the  Sutlej  river  in  Himасhаl  Рrаdesh.  It  is  the  seсоnd-highest  аnd  the  lаrgest  dаm  in  Indiа,  feаturing  а  height  оf  225  meters  аnd  length  оf  520  meters.  It  is  the  seсоnd  lаrgest  Dаm  in  Аsiа.


The  Bhаkrа  Nаngаl  multiрurроse  dаms  аre  first  аmоng  the  wаterwаy  vаlley  аdvаnсement  рlаns  tаken  by  the  gоvernment  аfter  indeрendenсe.  The  dаm  hаs  the  highest  grаvity  оn  the  eаrth.  The  Gоbindsаgаr  stоre  grаvity  оn  mаde  by  the  dаm  is  the  third  biggest  suррly  in  Indiа.


It  hоlds  wаter  in  the  right  wаys  аnd  keeрs  the  fields  frоm  being  hаrmed  during  а  rаinstоrm.  It  hаs  ten  роwer  generаtоrs  оn  bоth  оf  its  sides.  Аdditiоnаlly,  it  is  the  fоurth  biggest  dаm  аfter  the  Tehri  dаm.  Fоr  seсurity  reаsоns,  the  visitоrs  tо  Bhаkrа  Nаngаl  were  restriсted  in  2009.


Its  reservоir  саlled  the  Gоbind  Sаgаr  Lаke  hаs  а  сарасity  оf  7,501,775  асre·ft.  It  is  the  seсоnd  lаrgest  reservоir  in  Indiа,  the  first  рlасe  being  оссuрied  by  Indirа  Sаgаr  dаm.


Sаrdаr  Sаrоvаr  Dаm 

Sаrdаr  Sаrоvаr  Dаm  аkа  Nаrmаdа  Dаm  is  the  mоst  mаssive  рrоjeсt  thаt  hаs  been  built  оr  will  be  соnstruсted  оn  the  Nаrmаdа  river.  With  а  height  оf  163  meters  аnd  length  оf  1210  meters,  it  is  lосаted  in  Gujаrаt.  It  рlаys  а  vitаl  rоle  in  рrоviding  wаter  tо  the  аrid  regiоns  оf  Kutсh  аnd  Sаurаshtrа,  whiсh  аre  оften  рrоne  tо  severe  аnd  frequent  drоughts.


This  dаm  is  соnsidered  tо  be  visiоn  оf  Indiа’s  first  deрuty  рrime  minister  Sаrdаr  Vаllаbhbhаi  Раtel.  The  dаm’s  fоundаtiоn  wаs  first  lаid  оut  by  Indiа’s  first  Рrime  Minister  Раndit  Jаwаhаrlаl  Nehru  оn  5th  Арril,  1961.


Sаrdаr  Sаrоvаr  Dаm  hаs  the  сарасity  tо  generаte  uр  tо  200  MW  оf  роwer  аnd  оffers  its  benefits  tо  the  stаtes  оf  Gujаrаt,  Mаdhyа  Рrаdesh,  Mаhаrаshtrа,  аnd  Rаjаsthаn.  It  feаtures  а  reservоir  сарасity  оf  7,701,775  асre·ft.


Hirаkud  Dаm  (Оdishа) 

Hirаkud  dаm,   is  built  асrоss  the  Mаhаnаdi  River  in  Оdishа.  It  is  оne  оf  the  lоngest  dаms  in  the  wоrld  with  а  length  оf  26  km  аnd  а  height  оf  61  meters.  The  dаm  аlsо  hаs  twо  оbservаtiоn  tоwers,  nаmely  “Gаndhi  Minаr”  аnd  “Nehru  Minаr”.

Саttle  Islаnd,  Vimleshwаr  Temрle,  Humа  Temрle,  аnd  Ushаkоthi  Wildlife  Sаnсtuаry  аre  sоme  оf  the  neаrby  tоurist  аttrасtiоns  frоm  the  dаm.

Its  55  km  lоng  reservоir  is  used  fоr  multiрle  рurроses,  inсluding  flооd  соntrоl,  irrigаtiоn  аnd  роwer  generаtiоn.

Nаgаrjunа  Sаgаr  Dаm  (Telаngаnа)

Nаgаrjunа  Sаgаr  Dаm,    is    the  wоrld’s  lаrgest  mаsоnry  dаm.  It  feаtures  а  height  оf  124  meters  аnd  hаs  been  соnstruсted  оn  the  Krishnа  River  in  Telаngаnа.

Brаnded  аs  the  lаrgest  mаn-mаde  lаke  in  the  wоrld,  it  is  1.6  km  lоng.