Central Water Commission (CWC)

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The Kerala state government urged the Centre to speed up measures for building a new dam at Mullaperiyar in Idukki district at a meeting with the Central Water Commission recently.

About Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • It is a premier technical organization in India in the field of water resources.
  • It is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
  • Functions:
    • The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating, and furthering, in consultation with the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation, and utilization of water resources throughout the country for the purposes of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply, and Water Power Development.
    • It also undertakes the investigation, construction, and execution of any such schemes as required.
  • It is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.
  • The work of the Commission is divided among three wings namely, the Designs and Research (D&R) Wing, the River Management (RM) Wing and the Water Planning and Projects (WP&P) Wing.
  • Each wing is placed under the charge of a full-time member with the status of Ex-Officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi

Key Facts about Mullaperiyar Dam

  • It is a masonry gravity dam situated on the Periyar River in Thekkady, Idukki district, in Kerala.
  • It is located 881 m above sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats.
  • The dam is built at the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
  • Its construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1895. The construction was carried out by the British Corps of Royal Engineers under the leadership of Pennycuick.
  • The dam was constructed with limestone and “Surkhi" (burnt brick powder and a mixture of sugar and calcium oxide).
  • The dam's purpose was to divert the waters of the west-flowing River Periyar eastward to the arid rain shadow regions of the Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga, and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu. 
  • The Periyar National Park is located around the dam's reservoir.
  • Although the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It was according to a 999-year lease agreement made during British rule, that the operational rights were handed over to Tamil Nadu.

Q1) What is a gravity dam? 

A gravity dam is a type of dam structure designed to withstand the force of water pressure solely through its weight. It relies on its massive weight and resistance to sliding to hold back the force of the water and maintain stability. Gravity dams are commonly built in locations where there is a solid foundation of bedrock or rock formations that can support their weight effectively.

Source: Speed up measures for new dam at Mullaperiyar, Kerala tells Central Water Commission