The Vamsadhara River, flowing through the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, is an essential geographical feature with significant cultural, ecological, and socio-economic importance.
In this article, you will get to know about every aspect of the Vamsadhara River, starting from its geological origins in the Eastern Ghats to its impact on the local communities and environment.
The name “Vamsadhara River” originates from the words ‘bansa‘ (bamboo) and ‘dhara‘ (water flow). It reflects the river’s birth amidst bamboo-filled forests. In the Oriya language, it is called “Bansadhara,” later transliterated as “Vamsadhara” in Telugu. The name symbolizes the river’s connection to its natural surroundings and the gentle flow it carries through its journey.
Geographical Features of Vamsadhara River
The following are the geographical features of the Vamsadhara River:
- Location: The Vamsadhara River is an east-flowing river situated between the Godavari and Mahanadi rivers in India.
- States Covered: The river basin spans across the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
- Basin Area: The Vamsadhara River basin covers an area of 8,015 square kilometers in Odisha and 2,815 square kilometers in Andhra Pradesh.
- Average Annual Rainfall: The river basin receives an average annual rainfall of approximately 1,400 millimeters.
- Origin: The river originates at the border of Kalyansinghpur in Rayagada district and Thuamul Rampur in Kalahandi district, Odisha.
- Length: The river flows for a distance of approximately 254 kilometers.
- Confluence: The Vamsadhara River joins the Bay of Bengal at Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
- Terrain: The portion of the river basin in the Rayagada district of Odisha comprises hilly areas with a tribal population.
- Water Availability: It has been estimated that around 115 thousand million cubic feet of water from the river are available for use by both states.
Tributary of Vamsadhara River: Mahendratanaya
Mahendratanaya, as a significant tributary of the Vamsadhara River, plays a crucial role in contributing to the river’s flow and supporting the livelihoods of the communities along its course.
- Mahendratanaya is a major tributary of the Vamsadhara River, originating in the Gajapati district of Odisha.
- The tributary flows eastward, meandering through hilly terrains and lush landscapes.
- Mahendratanaya joins the main Vamsadhara River in the state of Andhra Pradesh, upstream of the Gotta Barrage.
- As it merges with the Vamsadhara River, Mahendratanaya adds to its flow, enriching its waters with additional streams.
- The confluence of Mahendratanaya with the Vamsadhara River contributes to the availability of water for agricultural purposes, benefiting the farming communities along its course.
- To optimize water usage for irrigation, the construction of the Regulapadu barrage has been initiated, allowing water diversion for agriculture.
Interstate Dispute: Vamsadhara River Water Sharing
The Vamsadhara River, flowing through Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, has become the center of an interstate water-sharing dispute. With its basin occupying 8,015 square kilometers in Odisha and 2,815 square kilometers in Andhra Pradesh, the river carries a significant water supply due to its average annual rainfall of 1,400 mm.
Agreements & Initiatives
- Both states entered into agreements to share the river’s water resources in a 50:50 ratio.
- Andhra Pradesh initiated projects like the Gotta Barrage and Neredi Barrage to utilize its share of water.
- Odisha opted to divert Vamsadhara River waters to the Rushikulya River basin through the Harabhangi dam without prior consent from Andhra Pradesh.
Vamsadhara River Water Disputes Tribunal
- The Vamsadhara River water disputes tribunal, chaired by Justice Mukundakam Sharma, was constituted to find a resolution.
- The tribunal’s draft verdict in September 2017 permitted Andhra Pradesh to construct the side weir at Katragedda and Neredi barrage.
- The tribunal upheld the sharing of 115 Tmcft total yield at Gotta barrage in a 50:50 ratio, based on the agreement reached in 1962.
In 2021, the tribunal released its final report with minor changes from the draft, confirming the yearly 50:50 sharing of available water in the river basin by both states.
As the final report brings clarity to the water-sharing arrangement, it is hoped that both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha will collaborate in managing and preserving the Vamsadhara River’s water resources for sustainable development and the welfare of the regions it serves.
The Vamsadhara River holds a vital position as the prime river of the Uttarandhra region, encompassing three north coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh. To harness the river’s water for the benefit of agriculture and communities, the Boddepalli Rajagopala Rao Project, commonly known as the Vamsadhara Project, was established.
The primary objective of the Vamsadhara Project is to provide irrigation facilities to the Uttarandhra region, unlocking the agricultural potential of the area and ensuring a sustainable livelihood for the local farmers.
Components of the Project
The Vamsadhara Project comprises two major canals:
- Left Main Canal (LMC): The Left Main Canal caters to the irrigation needs of around 148,000 acres of agricultural land. It serves as a lifeline for numerous farmers, enabling them to cultivate crops and boost agricultural productivity.
- Right Main Canal (RMC): Covering an area of 62,280 acres, the Right Main Canal is another critical component of the Vamsadhara Project. It plays a significant role in extending irrigation facilities to a vast stretch of farmland in the region.
The Right Main Canal is fed by the Gotta Reservoir, which acts as a storage and regulating structure for water distribution. This reservoir ensures a steady supply of water to the canal, making it a reliable source for irrigation purposes.
In conclusion, the Vamsadhara River remains a treasured gem, offering sustenance to communities, supporting agriculture, and captivating all with its natural beauty.
While the Vamsadhara Project has empowered Uttarandhra’s agricultural growth, it is essential to ensure responsible water management and conservation to preserve the river’s ecological balance for the future.