ବଂଶଧାରା ନଦୀ
Banshadhara River as seen from Salihundam in Srikakulam district
Native nameBanshadhara (Odia)
Physical characteristics
SourceThuamul Rampur
 • locationKalahandi
 • locationBay of Bengal
 • average103 m3/s (3,600 cu ft/s)

River Vamsadhara or River Banshadhara is an important east flowing river between Rushikulya and Godavari, in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states in India.

The river originates in the border of Thuamul Rampur in the Kalahandi district and Kalyansinghpur in Rayagada district of Odisha and runs for a distance of about 254 kilometers, where it joins the Bay of Bengal at Kalingapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The total catchment area of the river basin is about 10,830 square kilometers. The average water yield in the river basin at Gotta barrage is 115 billion cubic feet in a year.[1]

Tourist attractions of Hiramandalam Mukhalingam and Kalingapatnam in Srikakulam district are located on the banks of this river.

Mahendratanaya River is a major tributary river of Vamsadhara originating in Gajapati district of Odisha and it joins Vamsadhara in Andhra Pradesh upstream of Gotta barrage.[2] Regulapadu reservoir in Andhra Pradesh is under construction to store the Mahendratanaya river water for irrigation use.[1]

Interstate aspects

Vamsadhara river basin occupies 8015 square kilometers in Odisha and the remaining 2815 km2 flows in Andhra Pradesh. The river basin receives high annual average rainfall of magnitude 1400 mm. The portion lying in Rayagada district of Odisha is a predominantly hilly and tribal populated area. Andhra Pradesh and Odisha roughly estimated that 115 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water is available for use in the river. They entered into agreements[3] to use the available river water in 50:50 ratio. Andhra Pradesh has taken up Gotta barrage and Neredi barrage projects to put its share of water for use. However Odisha has not taken up new projects in the basin area to utilize its share of water. In fact it is diverting Vamsadhara river waters to adjacent Rushikulya river basin by constructing Harabhangi dam without taking prior consent from Andhra Pradesh.[4] Also, Orissa has raised objections to Neredi barrage project on the grounds of land submergence in its territory during unprecedented floods.

Approximately 25% of the available water in this basin is being utilized during the monsoon season by constructing barrages across the river. Reservoirs up to 100 Tmcft water storage capacity are to be constructed for the non-monsoon period irrigation requirements, by which 100% water utilization can be achieved. Peculiar situation of this river is that most of the land to be irrigated is located in Andhra Pradesh while the possible storage reservoirs are located in Odisha. Vamsadhara River water disputes tribunal was constituted under Interstate River Water Disputes Act[5] to resolve river water sharing issues between the two states. Justice Mukundakam Sharma is the chairman of Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal.[6] The tribunal pronounced its draft verdict in September 2017 and permitted AP state to construct the side weir at Katragedda and Neradi barrage.[7] The tribunal also upheld the sharing of 115 tmc ft total yield at Gotta barrage between AP and Odisha in 50:50 ratio as per the agreement reached between the states on 30 September 1962.[8]

In the year 2021, the Vamsadhara water disputes tribunal released its final report without much change from the draft report except sharing of available water in the river basin on yearly basis at 50:50 by both states.[9]

Unutilized water

Nearly 82.86 TMC of water has gone waste to the sea on average in a water year from 1 June 2006 to 31 May 2022 (16 years). The yearly water unutilized is given below

Unutilized water[10]
Water year 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 18-19 19-20 20-21 21-22
Unutilized water (TMC) 200.6 129 88.4 66.9 81.6 41.3 55.7 127.2 156.1 25.21 36.61 87 109.7 40.1 57.2 23.2

The Vamsadhara Project

Boddepalli Rajagopala Rao Project was constructed on Vamsadhara river.

Vamsadhara is the main river of North Eastern Andhra. The North Eastern Andhra region consists of three North Eastern Coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh state in India. Vamsadhara project is designed to meet the irrigation needs of North Eastern Coastal Andhra.[11]

The Vamsadhara project has two canals viz., the left main canal (LMC), irrigating about 148,000 acres (600 km2), and the right main canal (RMC) covering an ayacut of 62,280 acres (252 km2). The left main canal was completed long back. The right main canal was delayed due to various reasons. Gotta Reservoir feeds the right main canal. About 166 villages in seven mandals viz., L.N. Peta, Hiramandalam, Burja, Amadalavalasa, Gara, Sarubujjili and Srikakulam will be benefited from the RMC.[12]

Lower Vamsadhara Project

The Lower Vamsadhara project envisages construction of 58m high & 1700m long dam across the vamsadhara river near Minajhola village (near 19°31′00″N 83°44′30″E / 19.51667°N 83.74167°E / 19.51667; 83.74167 ) in Rayagada district creating hydraulic head of nearly 62 meters.[13] This project would be a multipurpose project serving power generation, irrigation and flood control.

Hiramandalam reservoir

Hiramandalam reservoir of 19 TMC storage capacity is already completed but the water supply from the Vamsadhara River is yet to be made by constructing a side weir on the river. As Odisha state is not agreeing to construct the side weir even after the tribunal verdict, Andhra Pradesh state is planning to pump water into the reservoir from the nearby Gotta barrage pond.[14] In future, Heeramandalam reservoir can be used as the lower reservoir of a 10,000 MW capacity pumped-storage hydroelectric plant to meet uninterrupted renewable and green power needs of Uttara Andhra region.

Vamsadhara and Nagavali link canal

A 30 km long gravity canal is planned to link the Vamsadhara and Nagavali Rivers.[15] It will run from Hiramandalam reservoir to Narayanapuram barrage near Amudalavalasa and bring an additional 50,000 acres of ayacut under irrigation using 10 Tmcft of water from Vamsadhara basin.[16][17]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Srikakulam district irrigation Profile" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Orissa Information: Mahendra Tanaya River of Odisha". 8 January 2013.
  3. ^ Agreements with Odisha on Vamsadhara river waters sharing - pages 256 to 263
  4. ^ "Harabhangi Dam D02980". Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  5. ^ Interstate river water disputes act - 1956 and its legal provisions
  6. ^ "Vamsadhara project okayed with conditions". 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal interim award. Pages 121 and 138". 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal: Andhra Pradesh allowed to build Neradi barrage". 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Further report of Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal" (PDF). June 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Reservoir Storage Monitoring System". Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  11. ^ Vamsadhara - Voice of Uttarandhra
  12. ^ "Hiramandalam Reservoir". Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Lower Vamsadhara project, Odisha state". Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Lift irrigation on Vamsadhara river to be a game-changer". Retrieved 5 August 2022.[dead link]
  15. ^ "AP plans to link Vamsadhara, Nagavali". 5 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Hiramandalam Dam D03520". 5 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Narayanapuram Anicut Medium Irrigation Project JI00114". Retrieved 5 September 2016.

18°21′N 84°08′E / 18.350°N 84.133°E / 18.350; 84.133