Karnataka Rivers Profile

This report was commissioned for India Rivers Week 2016.  Its a short description and detail report of the same can be seen here Karnataka Rivers Profile
Karnataka is one of the four southern states of Peninsular India (Figure 1a), came into existence with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956, Nov 1) and is located 11°30′ North and 18°30′ North latitudes and 74° East and 78°30′ East longitude (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Karnataka). The state covers an area of 191,976 km² (5.83% of India‘s geographical area). Karnataka is the eighth largest Indian  state by area, the ninth largest by population and comprises 30 districts (figure 1b) divided in to 4 administrative divisions, 270 towns and 29406 villages (http://ssakarnataka.gov.in/).

The state is situated on a table land where the Western and Eastern Ghats ranges converge into the complex, in the western part of the Deccan Peninsular region of India. Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamilnadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest.

Rivers Of Karnataka:

Rivers are a source of water for drinking, irrigation and electricity generation in Karnataka. Most of the rivers originate in the Western Ghats that generally flow westward meet the Arabian Sea after a short run varying from 50 kilometres to 300 kilometres. Almost all the major east-flowing rivers are inter-state rivers and runs towards the eastern side of the state and drain towards the Bay of Bengal.

Figure 1: Karnataka State, India with districts and River Systems

Karnataka State, India                                                   Districts Map

Karnataka Map

Figure: River basins –

Karnataka River Map

1: Godavari, 2: Krishns, 3: Cauvery, 4: North Pennar, 5: South Pennar, 6: Palar, 7: West flowing rivers

There are seven rivers (Figure 1c) in Karnataka

No. River System Drainage Area
    1000 Sq. km %
  East Flowing Rivers    
1. Godavari 4.41 2.31
2. Krishna 113.29 59.48
3. Cauvery 34.27 17.99
4. North Pennar 6.94 3.64
5. South Pennar 4.37 2.29
6. Palar 2.97 1.56
7. West Flowing Rivers 24.25 12.73
  Total 190.50 100
Rivers Drainage area  
  1000 sq.km. %
East Flowing rivers (1 to 6) 166.25 12.73
West Flowing rivers 24.25 87.27
Total 190.5  

  A report by Dr. T.V. Ramachandra, Vinay S and Bharath H. Aithal


  • This report was commissioned for India Rivers Week 2016. 
  • The Karnataka Drainage map has been put together by a WWF Team led by G Areendran, the names of the rivers have been provided by an INTACH Team led by Dr. Manu Bhatnagar.
  • The names in bracket represent the Key tributaries; RED color is for (Critical) status; BLUE is for (Safe) status and rest are PINK (Threatened) status.
  • Its a short description, for detail report kindly explore the link Karnataka Rivers Profile
  • You may also like to see rivers profiles for RajasthanWest BengalNorth-East IndiaMaharashtra, Haryana , Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh,  Kerala States
  • The same report can also be seen on  SANDRP Blog

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