Hirakud Dam

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Hirakud Dam Blog Image


A day after opening six gates of Hirakud dam, the authorities opened 16 more sluice gates to discharge excess water from the reservoir.

About Hirakud Dam

  • Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 kilometres from Sambalpur in the state of Odisha.
  • It is the longest earthen dam in the world, about 16 miles and around 26 km in length.
  • The dam forms a vast reservoir known as the Hirakud Reservoir or Hirakud Lake. It is the biggest artificial lake in Asia.
  • History:
    • It is one of the first multipurpose projects by India after independence.
    • The construction began in 1948 and was completed in 1953.
    • It was built to control the flow of the Mahanadi River and manage the perennial problem of floods in the region.
    • The inauguration of the dam was done by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1957.
  • Purpose:
    • Irrigation facility to 1,08,385 hectares of Rabi crops and 1, 55,635 hectares of Kharif crops of Bolangir, Subarnapur, Bargarh and Sambalpur.
    • The capacity of power generation installed at Hirakud dam is 359.8 MW.
    • More than 436,000 hectors of land in the Mahanadi delta also get irrigated by the water which is released from the powerhouse. 
    • The delta area in Cuttack and Puri district of an area of 9500 sq Km also gets flood protection because of the Hirakud Project. 
  • Structure:
    • Granite, hard concrete and earth are the most used substances in building the dam.
    • Stretched from the Chandidungri hills on the right to the Lamdungri hills on the left the main structure of Hirakud Dam is about 4.8 km long. 
    • About 83400 Sq. Km is the catchments area, and the dam is a composite structure of Concrete, Masonry and Earth.
  • Cattle Island:
    • It is a small island in the Hirakud Reservoir.
    • It is inhabited by a large herd of wild cattle, which are believed to be the descendants of cattle that were left behind by villagers when the dam was constructed in the 1950s.


Key Facts about Mahanadi River:

  • It is one of the major east-flowing peninsular rivers in India.
  • Origin: The river originates from the Sihawa range of hills in the Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh state.
  • It flows in a southeastern direction through Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • The catchment area of the basin extends over major parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and comparatively smaller portions of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Length: It flows a total of 860 km by distance before it ends up in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Tributaries: The main tributaries of Mahanadi are Seonath River, Jonk River, Hasdeo River, Mand River, Ib River, Ong River and Telen River.


Q1) What is an earthen dam?

Earthen dams are constructed using natural materials such as soil, clay, and rock. These materials are compacted to form a barrier that holds back water, creating a reservoir or lake. Earthen dams can range in size from small structures used for irrigation or water storage to large dams used for hydroelectric power generation and flood control.

Source: 16 More Gates Of Odisha’s Hirakud Dam Opened; Excess Water Being Released Through 22