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Water resources engineering is an important branch of engineering for all l

iving beings. Water is the best gift of nature to all living beings. There is no
life without water. All the plants, creatures and humans survive on the earth d
ue to water only. Irrigation is the process of artificially supplying water to t
he soil as per crop requirement for raising crops. In the absence of required qu
antity of moisture in the soil, the plants and crops cannot grow. The main funct
ion of irrigation is to supplement the rain fall. Natural rainfall, snowfall, ha
il etc are the primary sources of water on and below the earth`s surface
In tropical areas, the quantity of rainfall is insufficient to meet the mini
mum requirements of moisture, required by the crops and plants for their growth.
In such areas for proper growth of crops it is necessary to supply the required
quantity of water artificially. As far as tropical countries are concerned, no
tropical country can develop without proper irrigation. In this chapter the aspe
cts of water resources engineering are discussed as regards to necessity, advant
ages, disadvantages of irrigation, different types of dam watershed management a
nd ground water recharge.
Necessity of Irrigation
Irrigation is necessary because of following reasons
Non uniform rainfall: The rainfall in a particular area may not be unifo
rm over the crop period. Sometimes during the crop period, there is lack of wate
r. Due to this either the yield may be less or the crop may die. To avoid this,
during the period of excess of rainfall, extra water is stored in a reservoir an
d it is supplied as and when required.
Less rainfall: When the total rainfall is less as compared to that requi
red for growth of crops, and then we have to supply water to that area from othe
r areas where more quantity of water is available.
Raising cash crops: For raising cash crops like sugarcane, cotton and fr
uits etc extra water is required than available rainfall, then irrigation is mus
Controlled water supply: By supplying water to crops at proper time yiel
d of crop is increased.
Benefits of Advantages of Irrigation
Increase in food production: Due to the controlled and timely supply of
water to the crop, the yield increases.
Protection from famine: Due to construction of irrigation works, employm
ent is created to people and thus they get relief against famine.
Cultivation of cash crops: Irrigation makes it possible to grow cash cro
ps such as sugarcane, cotton, tobacco etc.
Addition to the wealth of country: Revenue of the state increases, crop
produced makes country self sufficient in food requirement.
Increase in prosperity of people: Due to more yield from crops, the inco
me and living standard of farmers is improved.
Generation of hydro electric power: From major projects and waterfalls e
lectricity is generated, which is free from pollution.
Domestic and industrial supply: The water from reservoir and canal netwo
rk can be used for domestic and industrial supply of water.
Inland Navigation: economical mode of transportation is in large canals
inland navigation is possible.
Improvement of communication: Irrigation channels and their side roads i
mprove communication facilities.
Canal plantation: Along the sides of canal damp and wet condition prevai
ls, where plantation is possible.
Improvement in the ground water storage: Due to constant percolation of
water ground water table is raised.
Disadvantages of Irrigation
Following are the disadvantages of excessive irrigation
Water logging: Due to over-irrigation the water table rises up to ground
level causing water logging and salt efflorescence in the area.
Spreading of mosquitoes: Due to excessive irrigation ponds and depressio

ns are filled with water, causing breeding places for mosquitoes.

Costly structures: Costly cross drainage works are required at crossing
of canal and natural steams. For crossing roads and railway lines costly bridges
, culverts are to be constructed.
Damp climate: The areas which are already damp and cold become damper an
d colder due to irrigation.
Multipurpose Irrigation Project
Dams are constructed across the rivers and streams to create an artific
ial lake or reservoir behind it. Dams and reservoirs are the most important elem
ents in multipurpose irrigation projects. They require very careful planning, de
signing and operation.
Storage works are constructed to survey many purposes, such as,
Storage and control of water for irrigation.
Storage and diversion of water for domestic use.
Water supplies for industrial use.
Generation of hydroelectric power
Increasing water depth for navigation
Storage space for flood control.
Preservation and cultivation of useful aquatic life and
viii) Recreation
Depending upon the purpose served, reservoirs may be classified as under.
Storage or conservation reservoir: Storage reservoirs are primarily used
for water supplies for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, domestic and
industrial water supply. A storage reservoir is constructed to store excess wat
er during the period of high inflow and release it gradually as and when require
Flood control reservoir: Floods protection reservoirs are those which st
ore water during floods and release it gradually at a safe rate when the flood r
ecedes. These are constructed to protect the area lying on its downstream side f
rom the damages due to floods.
Distribution reservoir: A distribution reservoir is small storage reserv
oir used for water supply in a city.
Multipurpose reservoir: A reservoir planned and constructed to serve var
ious purposes together is called multipurpose reservoir. A reservoir designed an
d constructed for one purpose and incidentally serving other purposes is not con
sidered as multipurpose reservoir. Such reservoir will be called multipurpose re
servoir only when designed to serve those purpose also in addition to its main p
urpose. A reservoir designed to protect downstream area from floods and also to
store water for power supply, irrigation, industrial needs, hydroelectric power
generation etc. is called a multipurpose reservoir. Since in most of the cases s
ingle purpose reservoirs are not economically feasible usually multipurpose rese
rvoirs are constructed.
A dam is a hydraulic structure constructed across a river to store water
on upstream side. So necessarily, dam should be an impervious or fairly impervi
ous barrier to form reservoir.
Classification of dams
Dams may be classified into different categories depending upon the p
urpose they serve on the basis of material used for construction.
Classification according to use
Storage dam: A storage dam is constructed to store water on its upstream
side during the period of excess supply and use it in period of deficiency.
Diversion dam: A diversion dam raises water level slightly in the river,
and thus water is diverted into canal system. A diversion dam is always of smal
ler height and no reservoir is formed on its upstream to store water.
[iii] Detention dam: A detention dam is constructed to store water during floo
ds and release it gradually as at a safe rate when the flood recedes. By the pro
vision of detention dam, flood damage downstream is reduced.
Classification according to material

Rigid dam: Rigid dams are those which are constructed of rigid material
s such as masonry, concrete, steel or timber.
Non rigid dam: Non rigid dams are those which are constructed of non rig
id materials such as earth and/or rock fill.
Classification according to flow condition
Overflow dam: If water is allowed to flow over the top of dam it is know
n as overflow dam. These are also known as spill ways. Gates are normally provid
ed over spill ways for allowing the water to pass to downstream during floods an
d for extra storage of water after the floods.
Non overflow dam: If the water is not allowed to flow over the top of t
he dam, it is known as non overflow dam.
All the dams are generally a combination of overflow and non overflow dams
Selection of site for Dam
The following factors should be considered for the selection of site for various
types of dams.
Suitable foundations should be available at the site selected for partic
ular type of dam. Foundation should be free from open pockets or fault planes. N
o dam should be built across an active fault.
The length of dam should be as small as possible, and for a particular h
eight should store maximum volume of water. It means the river valley at the dam
site should be narrow, but should be wider on upstream.
The bed level at the dam site should be preferably higher than that of t
he river basin.
Good site for the location of separate spillway is essential in the case
of earth or rock fill dam.
Materials required for a particular type of dam should be locally availa
The reservoir basin should be fairly water tight.
The sight should be such that a deep reservoir is formed and the value o
f land and minimum property should be submerged by the proposed dam
The dam site should be easily accessible for transportation of cement, l
abour, machinery, food and other equipments.
Healthy environment should be available near the site for construction o
f labour and staff colonies.
Gravity Dam (Rigid Dams)
A gravity dam is one in which the external forces such as w
ater pressure, silt
pressure, uplift pressure, wave pressure etc are resiste
d by the self weight of dam. Thus weight of the dam or gravity forces maintains
stability of the dam. A gravity dam may be constructed either of masonry or conc
rete. The different terms of importance are as follows
Maximum water level or full reservoir level: The maximum level to which
water rise during the worst flood is known as the maximum water level or full re
servoir level.
Minimum poor level: The lowest water surface elevation up to which water
in reservoir can be used is called minimum pool level.
Normal pool level: It is the maximum elevation to which the reservoir wa
ter surface will rise during normal operation conditions.
Useful and dead storage: The volume of water stored in the reservoir bet
ween the minimum pool level and normal pool level is called useful storage. The
volume of water stored in the reservoir below minimum pool level is known as dea
d storage.
Free board: The margin between the maximum water level and top of the da
m is known as free board. Free board must be provided to avoid the possibility o
f water spilling over the top of the dam due to wave action.
Drainage gallery: A gallery provided near the foundation to drain off th
e water which seeps through the foundation and the body of dam is called drainag
e gallery.
Earthen Dams and Rock fill Dams (Non Rigid Dams)
Earth dams are constructed using locally available soils and gravels; the
y can be used up to moderate height only.

Earth dams may be classified as,

Homogeneous type dams,
Zoned type dams,
Diaphragm type dams.
A homogeneous type earth dam is constructed from a single kind of mater
ial. A zoned type dam is made up of two or more different materials. In such dam
s impervious zone in the middle is supported and enclosed from both sides by imp
ervious materials. Impervious core may be inclined or vertical.
In diaphragm type dam a thin central impervious core is supported by thic
k impervious cores.
In zoned type and diaphragm type earth dam impervious and pervious cor
es are separated by transition filters.
Cross section of earth dam involves following
Crest width: It is determined by the requirement of roadway at top. Gene
rally it is between 6 to 12 m but in no case should be less than 3 m.
Side slopes: Side slopes of earth dam usually vary in the range between
2 horizontal to 1 vertical to 1 vertical depending on the foundation soil and th
e material used for construction of dam.
Free board: Sufficient free board must be provided in earthen dam to avo
id overtopping of dam. It is about 1.5 times the wave height plus some safety fa
ctor. Usually free board is about 3 m.
Horizontal drainage blanket: It is provided at the base of dam, which ex
tends from downstream toe of the dam towards the centre of dam. Its thickness sh
ould not be less than 1 m. Its length is about 25 to 100% of half of the base wi
dth of dam. It facilitates easy drainage of seeping water.
A rock fill dam is constructed by using rubbles or rock pieces of various sizes
to provide stability and an impervious membrane to provide water tightness.
Advantages of earth dams
Earth dams can be constructed on any type of foundation.
They can be constructed rapidly with relatively unskilled labour and loc
ally available materials.
They are generally economical.
Disadvantage of earth dams
They fail suddenly without any warning.
Separate spillways are required to drain extra water during floods.
They require constant maintenance and supervision.
Impervious layer, core and shell prevent water to drain through cross section of
dam. The water tightness to earth and rock fill dam is due to these impervious
elements only.
Important Multipurpose Irrigation Projects
Some important multipurpose irrigation projects of India are,
Bhakra dam, 2) Nagarjuna Sagar dam, 3) Jayakwadi project.
Bhakra dam
Bhakra dam is a 226 meter high concrete gravity dam. The dam is about 520 m
eter long at the top and only 100 meter at the bottom. The thickness of dam at f
oundation is about 400 meter and it tapers to 9 meter at the top which acts as r
oad surface. Bhakra dam was the highest concrete gravity dam of the world is Gra
nd Dixon Dam in Switzerland (284 meter high). Bhakra dam is situated near Bhakra
village in Himachal Pradesh, state of India. It has been constructed on Satlaj
River coming from Himalaya. Satlaj is a perennial river which carries huge quant
ity of water during floods and rains.
The various functions served by this dam are
Flood control
ii) Irrig
Electricity and
iv) Fish
Bhakra dam project consists of the following
226 meter high Bhakra dam.
Nagal Hydel channel.
Ganguwal and Kotta power houses.


Bhakra canal system.

About 28 meter high Nagal dam.
Nagarjuna Sagar dam
The multipurpose Nagarjuna Sagar dam is located across Krishna River, near
nandikonda village in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. It is named after Ac
harya Nagarjuna, who lived at the spot about 2000 years ago. The dam is a 125 me
ter high masonry dam and 1450 meter long. The maximum base width of dam is 98 me
ter and top width is 8.5 meter. The water-shed area at the dam site 83087 sq mil
es and observed maximum flood discharge is 1.1710^6 cusecs.
The dam irrigates in Guntur, Kurnool, Nalgonda, Khammam and Krishna di
stricts. Its irrigation potential is above 3.510^6 acres of land and electrical p
otential is 1 lakh kilowatt hours of firm power and 4.6 lakh kilowatt hours of s
easonal power.
Jayakwadi project
The Jayakwadi project is the largest irrigation project in Marathwada r
egion of Maharashtra state. The main dam of this project is constructed across G
odavari River at Paithan for storing 2909 million cubic meter of water. The dam
is 10210 meter long and consists of 610 m long masonry overflow dam in the river
gorge, with earthen portion of dam on both sides. Maximum height of earth dam a
bove ground level is 37 m while deepest foundation is 27 m below ground level, i
n the part of the earth portion. Maximum height of masonry dam is 37 m.
The reservoir created behind Paithan dam, which is named as Nathsagar , h
as submerged 35000 hectares of land covering 94 villages. These villages have be
en shifted and rehab lined at safer places. This has affected a population of 77
000 persons.
Economic benefits of Jayakwadi project
Direct benefits
Increased agricultural productions It is observed that due to commission
ing of the project, production of crop has steadily increased.
Fisheries The production of the fish is of order of 650 million tons per
year which is worth Rs. 130.00 lakh.
Water supply for drinking purposes the requirements of municipal water s
upply to important adjacent towns is dependent on this dam only.
Industrial development Jayakwadi project is supplying water to Paithan a
nd Aurangabad industrial area.
Generation of hydroelectric power For 5 hours a day, with a discharge of
50 m^3/sec, it is generating 12 M W power.
Indirect benefits
Flood protection
2) Support to su
gar factories
Employment generation
4) Tourism development