Key Facts about Mahanadi River

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The Odisha government recently alerted the districts in the Mahanadi delta area as it apprehends a “medium” flood in the river system following heavy rains for three consecutive days in the state.

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.
  • Length: It flows a total of 860 km by distance before it ends up in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Course:
    • 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.
    • It passes through several major cities and towns, including Raipur, Sambalpur, and Cuttack.
  • The river is bounded in the north by Central India hills, in the south and east by the Eastern Ghats and in the west by Maikal hill range.
  • Tributaries: The main tributaries of Mahanadi are Seonath River, Jonk River, Hasdeo River, Mand River, Ib River, Ong River and Telen River.
  • Hirakud Dam:
    • The Hirakud Dam, the world's longest earthen dam (26km), is constructed across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in Odisha.
    • The dam is used for irrigation, flood control, and power generation.
  • Chilika Lake: Chilika, named wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, gets 61% of its inland flow from the Mahanadi river system, mainly from its distributaries - Daya and Bhargabi.
  • It ranks second to the Godavari River among the peninsular rivers in respect of water potential.


Q1) What is the Ramsar Convention?

The Ramsar Convention, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, is an international treaty aimed at conserving and protecting wetland ecosystems and their biodiversity. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and officially came into force on December 21, 1975. The convention is named after the city of Ramsar, where the treaty was signed.

Source: Odisha fears ‘medium’ flood, alerts districts in Mahanadi delta area