Krishna River System: Tributaries | Map & Dams

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If you’re interested in learning about the tributaries of the Krishna River System, then you’ve come to the right place as this article covers everything you need to know about the Krishna River System, including its basin, origin, starting point, left and right bank tributaries, dams on the Krishna River for UPSC, and a map for UPSC that illustrates its flow from Maharashtra.

The Krishna River is a large river in South India, with a total length of around 1400 kilometers. The river basin is one of India’s most fertile and densely inhabited areas. The Krishna River system provides irrigation, drinking water, and hydroelectric power to the surrounding area. It is also culturally significant, with several temples and pilgrimage sites placed along its banks.

RiverKrishna River
OriginWestern Ghats near Jor village of Satara district, Maharashtra
Starting PointMahabaleshwar
MouthAndra Pradesh, Bay of Bengal
Area cover258,948 km sq.
Total Length1,400 km
Flows throughAndhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Karnataka 
StatusIndia’s 4th Largest River
Monsoon Discharge Rate3500 m³/s
DamsJurala, Almatti, Tungabhadra, Nagarjuna Sagar, etc.
Major TributariesBhima River
Tungabhadra River
Ghataprabha River
Malaprabha River
Musi River, etc.
Krishna River System

Krishna River System

Krishna River is the fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India, after the Ganga, Godavari, and Brahmaputra. The river is about 1400 km long and it flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. It is also considered sacred in Hinduism and has many religious, and cultural associations. 

  • The Krishna River is a major river in South India, with a total length of about 1400 km.
  • The Krishna River is the Peninsula’s second-largest east-flowing river.
  • The Krishna River begins at Mahabaleshwar at an elevation of 1336 m near Jor village in the extreme north of district Satara, Maharashtra, in the west, and flows east to reach the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Further, the river basin covers an area of around 258,948 square kilometers.
  • The Krishna River basin is one of the most fertile and highly populated locations in India.
  • The river receives its water from both monsoons and from a number of tributaries such as Tungabhadra, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, and Dindi.
  • During the monsoon season, the river has a high discharge rate, with an average of roughly 3500 m³/s.
  • The flow of the river is seasonal, with high levels during the monsoon season and low flows during the dry season.
  • Due to severe silting and a broad shallow bed that can store enormous volumes of water during the monsoon season, the river is notable for its floodplain system.
  • As a result, the river floods often, causing damage to crops, houses, and infrastructure.
  • This is one of the most environmentally damaging rivers in the world, causing massive soil erosion during the monsoon season.

Cities along the Krishna River System

The major cities along the river include:

  • Mahabaleshwar
  • Sangli
  • Vijayawada
  • Satara
  • Pune
  • Solapur
  • Guntur
  • Machilipatnam.

Map of Krishna River

Krishna River Map in India

List of Dams on the Krishna River System

Several dams have been built on the Krishna River and its tributaries to serve diverse objectives like irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and flood control.

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Some of the notable dams on the Krishna River are:

  1. Almatti Dam: Almatti Dam is one of the largest dams on the Krishna River in the Indian state of Karnataka. Its functions include irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and flood management.
  2. Narayanpur Dam (Basava Sagar Dam): Narayanpur Dam is located in Telangana and is used for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and flood control.
  3. Jurala Dam: Narayanpur Dam is situated in the state of Telangana on the Tungabhadra River, a tributary of the Krishna River.
  4. Srisailam Dam: Located in Andhra Pradesh, it functions as an irrigation, hydroelectric power generating, and flood control facility.
  5. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam: It is located in Telangana and is used for irrigation as well as hydroelectric power generation.
  6. Tungabhadra Dam: Tungabhadra Dam is located in the state of Karnataka on the Tungabhadra River, it is used for irrigation and generating hydroelectric power.
Dam NameLocation
Almatti DamKrishna River, Karnataka, India
Narayanpur Dam (Basava Sagar Dam)Krishna River, Telangana, India
Jurala DamTungabhadra River, Telangana, India
Srisailam DamKrishna River, Andhra Pradesh, India
Nagarjuna Sagar DamKrishna River, Telangana, India
Tungabhadra DamTungabhadra River, Karnataka, India
Dams on Krishna River and its Location

Tributaries of Krishna River

The Krishna River receives water from a number of tributaries. These tributaries flow from the Western Ghats and the Deccan Plateau and join the main river at various points along its path. Some of the major tributaries of the Krishna River include the Tungabhadra, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, and Dindi.

The following are the tributaries of the Krishna River:

  1. Ghataprabha River
  2. Malaprabha River
  3. Tungabhadra River
  4. Panchganga River
  5. Koyna River
  6. Warna River
  7. Bhima River
  8. Munneru River
  9. Musi River
  10. Dindi River
Tributary NameOriginates FromJoins Krishna River AtBank
Bhima RiverSahyadri Hills in MaharashtraRaichur district, KarnatakaLeft Bank
Mula-Mutha RiverMahabaleshwar Hills in MaharashtraSangli district, MaharashtraLeft Bank
Pavna RiverWestern Ghats in MaharashtraPune district, MaharashtraLeft Bank
Andhra RiverAnanthagiri Hills in TelanganaSangli district, MaharashtraLeft Bank
Tungabhadra RiverWestern Ghats in KarnatakaKurnool district, Andhra PradeshRight Bank
Ghataprabha RiverWestern Ghats in KarnatakaVijayapura district, KarnatakaRight Bank
Malaprabha RiverWestern Ghats in KarnatakaVijayapura district, KarnatakaRight Bank
Musi RiverSahyadri Hills in MaharashtraNalgonda district, TelanganaRight Bank
Koyna RiverSahyadri hills in MaharashtraSatara district, MaharashtraRight Bank
Tributaries of Krishna River
Krishna River Basin on Map
Krishna River on Map

Right Bank Tributaries of Krishna River

1. Tungabhadra River

  • Tungabhadra River is a major tributary of the Krishna River that starts in Karnataka’s Western Ghats.
  • It runs through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh before joining the Krishna River at Kurnool.
  • The Tungabhadra River basin covers approximately 65,145 km².
  • The river provides considerable irrigation and hydroelectric power to the region.
  • It is also well-known for its extensive cultural and historical legacy.

2. Malaprabha River

  • The Malaprabha River originates in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.
  • It flows through the state of Karnataka and joins the Krishna River near the city of Bailhongal.
  • The Malaprabha River basin is spread across an area of around 8,874 km².
  • Malaprabha Dam and Malaprabha Canal are two major irrigation projects built on this river.
  • The Malaprabha River provides irrigation for over 3 Lakh hectares of land.
  • The river also supports rich biodiversity and is home to many species of fish, birds, and other animals.
  • The river is an important source of irrigation and drinking water for the region.

3. Ghataprabha River

  • Ghataprabha River originates in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.
  • It flows through the state of Karnataka and joins the Krishna near the city of Gokak.
  • The Ghataprabha River basin is spread across an area of around 17,200 km².
  • It is also well-known for its rich cultural and historical history, with several temples and pilgrimage sites along its banks.
  • Gokak waterfall, located on the Ghataprabha River, is a popular tourist destination.
  • The Ghataprabha River and its tributaries offer irrigation for nearly 1.5 million hectares of agriculture.

4. Panchganga River

  • It originates from the confluence of five rivers – the Kasari, Kumbhi, Doodhganga, Bhogawati, and Savitri.
  • It runs across Maharashtra before joining the Krishna River near the city of Karad.
  • The Panchganga River basin covers an area of approximately 10,817 km. sq.
  • Locals regard the Panchganga River as sacred, and there are several temples and pilgrimage sites along its banks.
  • The Panchganga River is also noted for its diverse biodiversity since it is home to a variety of fish, birds, and other creatures.
  • The Panchganga River is also well-known for its potential for hydroelectric power development.

5. Warna River

  • It originates in Maharashtra.
  • It runs across Maharashtra before joining near the city of Karad.
  • The Warna River basin covers an area of approximately 3,857 km².
  • The Warna River is particularly famous for its historical significance, with several ancient temples and pilgrimage sites built along its banks.
  • The Warna River, along with its tributaries, irrigates nearly 1.5 million hectares of land.

6. Koyna River

  • It originates in Maharashtra.
  • Near Karad, it merges with the Krishna River after passing through the state of Maharashtra.
  • Approximately 10,817 km sq. make up the Koyna River basin.
  • The Koyna Hydroelectric Project, which spans the Koyna River, is one of Maharashtra’s greatest hydroelectric power-producing projects.
  • The Koyna Dam, which was constructed across the river, is used for flood control, hydroelectric power generation, and irrigation.
  • The Koyna River is also well-known for its diverse wildlife.

Left Bank Tributaries of Krishna River

1. Bhima River

  • The Bhima River originates in Maharashtra’s Western Ghats.
  •  It runs across Maharashtra and Karnataka before joining the Krishna River at Raichur. The Bhima River basin covers an area of approximately 25,300 km².
  • Ujani Dam, built on the Bhima River, is one of the largest dams in Maharashtra.
  • The Bhima River, along with its tributaries, irrigates nearly 6 lakh hectares of land.
  • The river provides irrigation and drinking water to the surrounding area.

2. Munneru River

  • Munneru River is a tributary of the Krishna River.
  • It originates in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It flows through the state of Andhra Pradesh and joins the Krishna River near the city of Nandigama.
  • The Munneru River basin is spread across an area of around 2,382 km².

3. Musi River

  • It originates in the Ananthagiri Hills of Telangana.
  • It flows through the state of Telangana and joins the Krishna River near the city of Vikarabad.
  • The Musi River basin is spread across an area of around 9,371 km².
  • The river is also known for its scenic beauty, with many spots and waterfalls located along its banks.
  • The river has a high discharge rate and is known for causing frequent floods in the region.

4. Dindi River

  • It originates in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh
  • It flows through the state of Andhra Pradesh and joins the Krishna River near the city of Nandigama
  • The Dindi River basin is spread across an area of around 2,382 km².

Irrigation and Hydroelectric Power of Krishna River

The Krishna River is an important source of irrigation and hydroelectric power for the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.

Irrigation:

  • Along the Krishna River, several dams and canals have been built to provide irrigation for the surrounding agricultural fields.
  • Some of the largest irrigation projects on the Krishna River are:
    1. The Almatti Dam
    2. The Narayanpur Dam
    3. The Jurala Dam
    4. The Srisailam Dam
    5. The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
  • These projects offer irrigation for approximately 15 lakh hectares of land, enabling many farmers in the region to make a living.

Hydroelectric Energy:

  • The River also serves as a significant source of hydroelectric electricity.
  • The river has seen the construction of several hydroelectric power projects:
    • Koyna Hydroelectric Project
    • Jurala Hydroelectric Project
    • Srisailam Dam Hydroelectric Project
    • Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Hydroelectric Project.
  • These projects have a total capacity of more than 4,000 MW.
  • Many micro and minor hydroelectric projects have been established along the Krishna River’s tributaries, demonstrating the river’s potential for modest hydroelectric power plants.

Overall, the Krishna River contributes significantly to the economic prosperity and livelihoods of the region’s millions of residents by supplying irrigation for crops.

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Also Read: Siyom Bridge on Siyom River

Environmental Impact on Krishna River

The Krishna River is facing a number of environmental difficulties that are having a substantial influence on the river’s ecology as well as on the people who live in the area.

The Krishna River has the following important environmental impacts:

  1. Water pollution: The river is heavily polluted as a result of industrial and agricultural operations, untreated sewage and solid waste disposal, and pollutant discharge from the various dams and canals erected along its path.
  2. Deforestation: The river’s catchment region has experienced substantial deforestation as a result of logging, agriculture, and urbanization, resulting in soil erosion, landslides, and flash floods.
  3. Groundwater Depletion: Excessive groundwater extraction for irrigation and other reasons has resulted in a drop in the water table and the drying up of wells and streams in the region.
  4. Biodiversity Loss: The construction of dams and canals along the river has fragmented the river’s environment, resulting in habitat loss for many species of fish, birds, and other creatures.

Efforts to Conserve Krishna River

Several conservation initiatives have been launched by the government and non-governmental groups to address these environmental concerns. 

Following are the Conservation Efforts:

  1. River Basin Management: To ensure the sustainable use of the river’s resources and to reduce the environmental effect of development activities, the government has adopted river basin management programs.
  2. Pollution Reduce: Efforts to control pollution have been done by imposing stronger rules on industry and towns, encouraging wastewater treatment and solid waste management, and conducting river cleaning initiatives.
  3. Reforestation: Programs have been put in place to restore the river’s catchment area through reforestation and afforestation, as well as to minimize soil erosion and landslides.
  4. Conservation of Biodiversity: Efforts have been undertaken to maintain the river’s biodiversity by establishing protected areas, implementing conservation strategies for vulnerable species, and promoting sustainable fishing techniques.
  5. Community Participation: To include local people in the conservation of the river and its resources, community-based conservation projects have been created.
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Overall, these conservation initiatives strive to ensure the River and its resources are used and managed in a sustainable manner, while also protecting its natural and cultural characteristics for the benefit of present and future generations.

What is the Economic Importance of the Krishna River System?

  • Agriculture: River provides significant irrigation to the agricultural fields in its basin. Further, it provides water for crops that are crucial to the local economy, such as rice, sugarcane, and cotton.
  • Hydropower: The river has the capacity to generate hydropower. The river is home to numerous big dams and hydroelectric power facilities, which offer a considerable supply of electricity for the surrounding area.
  • Fishing: The river also has a substantial fishing business, which provides revenue and food to local people.
  • Water supply: Provides water for drinking and other domestic use for the region’s residents.
  • Transportation: Utilized for transportation, with boats and ferries carrying people and cargo.
  • Tourism: Tourism is also drawn to the river because of its scenic beauty as well as its historical and cultural value.
  • Industrial growth: Industrial growth is also supported by the Krishna River, which is home to enterprises like sugar, paper, and textiles.

Cultural Significance of the Krishna River System

The Krishna River holds significant cultural and religious importance in India.

  • In Hinduism, the river is considered sacred and is related to the divinity of Lord Krishna.
  • Many religious festivals and rites are held along the river’s banks.
  • The river is also intertwined with the region’s mythology and history, having been referenced in several ancient scriptures and epics such as the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita.
  • Along the river, there are several temples and pilgrimage sites, including the “Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi” and the “ISKCON temple in Pandharpur”.
  • The river is also a significant source of inspiration for artists, musicians, and writers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Krishna River is a crucial resource for the region’s millions of residents, providing irrigation for agriculture, hydroelectric electricity, and a source of drinking water.

However, the river system is confronting a number of environmental difficulties that are having a substantial influence on the river’s ecosystem as well as the people who live in the area. Water pollution, deforestation, groundwater depletion, and biodiversity loss are among the issues.

To address these difficulties, the government and non-governmental groups have launched a number of conservation initiatives, including river basin management, pollution control, reforestation, biodiversity protection, and community engagement.

These initiatives aim to ensure the Krishna River and its resources are used and managed in a sustainable manner, while also protecting its natural and cultural characteristics for the benefit of present and future generations.

Overall, the Krishna River system is an important biological and cultural resource that is critical to the region’s economic growth and lives, and it must be managed and protected for the benefit of all. Finally, the Krishna River is an important resource for the region’s millions of residents, supplying irrigation for crops.

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Also Read: Rivers of India

Where does the Krishna River originate from?

Answer: The Krishna River originates from the Western Ghats in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Which states does the Krishna River flow through?

Answer: The Krishna River flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh in India.

What is the significance of the Krishna River System?

Answer: The Krishna River is one of the major rivers in South India and is significant for irrigation, drinking water, and power generation. It also supports a largely agricultural economy and provides livelihood opportunities to local communities.

What is the cultural significance of the Krishna River system?

Answer: The River has significant cultural and religious significance in India. It is considered a sacred river in Hinduism and is believed to have a special connection to Lord Krishna. It is also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and is visited by thousands of devotees each year.

What is the Starting Point of Krishna River?

The Krishna River, which is one of the major rivers in India, originates in the Western Ghats range of mountains in the state of Maharashtra. The exact starting point of the river is a place called Mahabaleshwar, which is a hill station located in the Satara district of Maharashtra

What is the total length of the Krishna River?

The total length of the Krishna River is approximately 1,400 kilometers (870 miles). The river originates in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra and flows through the states of Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

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