The contributions of river valley projects in the economic development of the country are more valuable. The geographical structure and the rivers of India are playing a vital role to build a river valley project.

The river valley project was mostly designed for irrigation and stores extra water in the rainy season. But after the development of new technologies, it is being used as the multipurpose river valley project.

India is an agricultural country where more need for the resources of irrigation. The physical structure of India provided many rivers and river valleys, which have been more important since ancient times for Agriculture, Irrigation, Settlement, Trade, etc. But at present multipurpose river valley projects are contributing much more.

What are multipurpose river valley projects?

Basically, the river valley project is a planned dam that is built on mountain slope areas with stones and concrete and other materials for the stores and control of river waters in the river valleys.

River valley projects are generally constructed for irrigation and flood control through the canals and dams, but today it is used for multi-purpose. 

Multipurpose river valley projects mean a single project used for different works, like irrigation, flood control, hydropower, tourism, etc. 

Multipurpose River Valley Projects
Multipurpose River Valley Projects

Objectives of multipurpose river valley projects

1. Disaster prevention like a flood, drought, and environmental disaster.

2. Used as the resource of  Irrigation in Agricultural and  Drought prone areas by canals.

3. Increase capacities of electricity energy by hydropower.

4. Boosting fisheries in dam areas.

5. Development of tourism places.

6. Environmental protection

7. Biodiversity conservation

8. Water reservoir for multiple uses.

The First multipurpose river valley project in India

Damodar Valley Project was the first multipurpose river valley project of India which was built on the patterns of the Tennessee River valley authority in 1948. 

Damodar is a tributary river of Hugli river which is known as the sorrow of  Bengal. For the prevention of flood and other perspectives, this river valley project was constructed in India firstly.

Under the Damodar valley corporation ( DVC) there were 7 dams planned on the Damodar and other tributary rivers, but only 4 dams have been built till now. Due to which two states Jharkhand and West Bengal are getting benefits. 

Dams on the Damodar and tributary rivers

Panchet Dam

Built on Panchet hills area across the Damodar river in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.

Maithon Dam

It was specially constructed to flood control and hydropower across the Barakar river (Tributary of Damodar river) near the Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.

Tilaiya Dam

It was built across the Barakar River at Tilaiya city in the Koderma district of Jharkhand.

Konar Dam

It was constructed across the Konar River (Tributary river of Damodar) in Hazaribagh (Jharkhand).

List of Important Multipurpose River Valley Projects

1. Bhakra Nangal Project - It was constructed on the Satluj river in Himachal Pradesh. Under This project, there were two dams Bhakra and Nangal constructed in which Bhakra is the world's highest dam (518m. from SL).

It is also the second-largest multipurpose project of India which is used for Irrigation and Hydropower.  Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are beneficial states from this project.

2. Vyas Project - This project situated in Punjab Which has been built on the Vyas river. Under this project Pong Dam was constructed in Himachal Pradesh for irrigation and hydropower. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are beneficiary states of the Vyas/Bayas project.

3. Hirakud Project - Hirakud is the largest mainstream dam in the world which was constructed on the Mahanadi river at Sambalpur (Orissa). The length of this dam is 4800m while high is 61m.

The foundation of the Hirakud dam was laid in 1946 to prevent the flood. So It is considered to be the first river valley project of India. But it was started in 1957.

It is also a multipurpose project which is used for Irrigation, Flood prevention and Hydropower. 

4. Chambal Project - It is an important multi-purpose river valley project of western India which was built across the Chambal river (Tributary of Yamuna river) at Rajasthan. Under this project three dams - Ranapratap Sagar Dam (Rajasthan), Jawahar Sagar Dam (Rajasthan) and Gandhi Sagar Dam (Madhya Pradesh) are phesewise constructed.

Irrigation, Hydropower and prevention of soil erosion were the main objectives of this project, from which Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are beneficial states.


5. Tehri Dam Project - This dam project was successfully constructed near Tehri (Uttarakhand) on the meeting place of Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers. It is one of the most important hydropower projects of India from which Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are getting benefits.

6. Nagarjuna Sagar Project - Nagarjuna Sagar is the biggest masonry Dam in India which is located in Telangana state. This dam project was constructed across the Krishna river.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are beneficial states of this project. The general objectives of the are water reservoir, irrigation, hydropower, drinking water (especially for Guntur).

7. Kosi Project - It is a combined project of India and Nepal, which was constructed across the Kosi river for flood control in North Bihar, Irrigation and Hydropower.

Kosi is a tributary river of Ganga which is known as the sorrow of  Bihar due to changing its route. After this project, Bihar is getting more benefits.

8. Tungabhadra Project - It was constructed across the Tungabhadra river (tributary river of Krishna) in 1953. Under this project Tungabhadra dam was built at Hospet city of Karnataka.

It is a combined enterprise of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states which is used for Irrigation, Water reservoir, and Hydropower. The 8-megawatt Hydropower plant has been established in Hampi under this project. 

9. Thein Dam Project - Ranjit Sagar Dam which is commonly known as the Thein Dam has been constructed across the Ravi River at Pathankot district of Punjab. It was mostly built for hydroelectric, but It is also useful for Irrigation and environment protection.

10. Farakka Project - It is an important multipurpose river valley project of West Bengal (India), which was built across the Ganga River at Murshidabad district in 1975.

Under this project, a big barrage has been constructed to control and divert the waters of the Ganga. The main objectives of this project are irritation and water transportation. There is a water dispute between India and Bangladesh due to the Farakka Barrage.

Other Most Important Projects In India

River Projects


Beneficiaries States


Mayurakshi Project


West Bengal

Irrigation and Hydropower

Matatila Project


Uttar Pradesh,

Madhya Pradesh

Irrigation and Hydropower

Koyna Project




Salal Project


Jammu Kashmir


Ghataprabha Project



Irrigation and Hydropower

Ramganga Project


Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh

Irrigation and Hydropower

Ukai Project



Irrigation and Hydropower

Nafta-Jhakri Project


Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab


Rihand Project


Uttar Pradesh

Irrigation Hydropower

Idukki Project




Machkund Project


Andhra Pradesh


Irrigation Hydropower

Nizam Sagar


Andhra Pradesh


Mettur dam Project




Mahatma Gandhi ( Jog ) Project




Loktak Project




Due to the more contributions in agriculture, electricity and economic growth of the country, some multipurpose river valley projects of India and the world are frequently asked in various exams. So you should memorize the above projects seriously.

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