Rivers of Chhattisgarh

This report was commissioned for India Rivers Week 2016.  Its a short description of a detailed report which can be seen here Chhattisgarh Rivers Profile


About Chhattisgarh

The state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of the state of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The total area of CG state is 135,100 sq km. The state has been divided into 27 districts. The total human population of the state is 27.94 million. 

Climate: The climate of Chhattisgarh is tropical. It is hot and humid because of its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its dependence on the monsoons for rains. Summer temperatures in Chhattisgarh can reach 45 °C (113 °F). The monsoon season is from late June to October and is a welcome respite from the heat.

Chhattisgarh receives an average of 1,292 millimetres (50.9 in) of rain. Winter is from November to January. Winters are pleasant with low temperatures and less humidity. The temperature varies between 30 and 45 °C (86 and 113 °F) in summer and between 0 and 25 °C (32 and 77 °F) during winter. However, extremes in temperature can be observed with scales falling to less than 0 °C to 49 °C.

Physiographic features 

The state of Chhattisgarh, which looks like a ‘sea horse’, is surrounded by 6 different states. While Maharastra and MP form its western neighbours, UP and Jharkhand lie in its north and Odisha on its east. The newly created state of Telengana lie on its south.Physiographically, Chhattisgarh is divided into three distinct land forms. The hills of Chotanagpur plateau in north east meet the Satpura-Maikal range along north and northwest of the state. In the center are the plains of River Mahanadi and its tributaries and in the South is the plateau of Bastar. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chhattisgarh

Surface Water Sources

The State is divided in to five river basins. Mahanadi Basin which is the largest, drains out 75,858.45 Sq km. Godavari Basin, which comes next, drains out 38,694.02 Sq km. Ganga Basin drains out 18,406.65 Sq km; Brahmani Basin drains out 1,394.55 Sq km and the Narmada Basin drains out 743.88 Sq km of catchment area in the state. 


Ground Water Sources

As per the 2009 assessment, jointly done by the Water Resources Department, Govt. of Chhattisgarh and Central Ground Water Board, Raipur, the annual replenishable ground water resource has been estimated as 12.22 billion cubic meter (bcm), out of which 11.58 bcm is considered to be available for development for various uses after keeping 0.64 bcm for natural discharge during non-monsoon period for maintaining flows in springs, rivers and streams. (Source: Aquifer systems of Chhattisgarh, CGWB, 2012) 

River Basins: The area of the state falls in the catchment of the following five major river basins. 1 Mahanadi 2 Godavari 3 Ganga 4 Brahmini 5 Narmada 

Basin in Chtgrh

Mahanadi River Basin 

River Mahanadi, draining the vast central region of Chhattisgarh state, forms the biggest river system in the state. Popularly believed to rise underneath a hill at Sihawa in Dhamtari district, it actually has a wider headwater span with true origins near a place called Amgaon (goggle earth image 2) within Sitanadi Sanctuary. Interestingly one of its key tributaries namely the Sondhul also has its origins from a nearby hills & forests in its east.

The literal meaning of Mahanadi River is large size river. The originating place of Mahanadi River, which is called as holy Ganga in Chhatisgarh is located at Sehawa near the Ashram of Maharshi Shrangi. It is said that once all the sages of this area came at this place for taking holy bath in Mahakumbh. The Maharshi was under meditation and penance at that time. The sages waited for several days to draw the attention of the Maharshi but the Maharshi’s meditation was not disrupted.

Thereafter, the sages went for the holy bath. While returning after the bath, all the sages brought some holy water with them. Finding that Maharshi Shrangi was still in the meditation, they filled the Maharshi’s kamandal (vessel) with water, and returned to their native places. After some time, when the meditation of the Maharshi Shrangi was disrupted, the water of the kamandal fell down on the ground with the stroke of his hand. This water began to flow towards east and was converted into a stream. This stream was called as Mahanadi which is said to fulfill the desires of millions of people. Number of places of historical, religious and archeological significance is found all along the main stem of river Mahanadi, as well as its key tributaries.

Impact of human activities on the river system 

With a reported (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahanadi) highest discharge of over 20 lakh cusec (matches river Ganga at its mouth) it is no wonder that river Mahanadi is so named. Against the above is the stark present day reality when the river in non monsoon season is forced to trickle down to few pools standing behind numerous anicuts that lay astride the river, with its mighty flow captured in reservoirs of dams raised on the river and its tributaries. That more barrages on the river are in the offing is an added concern. (http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/raipur/rs270-cr-approved-for-anicut-oversakri-river.html)

Status of rivers of Mahanadi 

The basin of the river Mahanadi within the state would qualify for a Pink status. This is because on account of a number of water harvesting structures including dams, barrages and anicuts on its tributaries as well as on the main river, the perennial river system has turned seasonal with pools marking the river bed during non monsoon months. This state of affairs would be having deleterious impact on the river’s health in terms of its geomorphology as well as its biodiversity.

It would be worthwhile to assess the impact of degradation of river’s integrity as a perennial system and its increasing pollution on its biodiversity as well as dependent livelihoods.

Ganga River Sub Basin 

A small part (1.7 %) of the Ganga basin, namely river Son sub basin falls within the state of Chhattisgarh. Spread over 18406 sq km it drains the districts of Koriya, Surajpur, Balrampur, Surguja and Jashpur. Rivers Rihand, Banas, Gopad and Kanhar are the key tributaries of river Son originating from within the state. Deogarh hills in the district of Koriya separate the waters of Ganga and Mahanadi basin, draining towards north and south respectively. While Banas is the western most, Kanhar is the eastern most tributary of river Son in the state.

The northern districts of the state are still to experience the ill effects on environment of the developmental activities and hence the rivers here are in relatively pristine state. The backwaters of the Rihand dam reservoir (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) stretch into parts of Chhattisgarh.

Status of Ganga Rivers

Mining for coal and bauxite seems to be the key threats to rivers in the area. From available information none of the rivers Banas, Gopad, Rihand, Mahan and Kanhar as they flow within the state appear to be either in Red or Pink category as none of them have either major structure on them or face major source of pollution. But a caution is to be observed since further mining / industrialization could result in high pollution. 

Godavari River Basin 

The third river system draining the state is that of the Indravati. The river and its tributaries are located in the Bastar area. It is a tributary of Godavari. Originating from Orissa it divides the area into two halves. Its major tributaries are Narangi, Baordhig, Nibra, Kotri, and a stream, the Chintavagu. Besides the Indravati and its tributaries, there are three important streams in the Bastar area, all direct tributaries of Godavari.

The Indravati rises from the Sunger hill (1.229 m.) on the Eastern Ghats in Dharamgarh tahsil of Kalahandi district in Orissa. Initially, the river flows towards the south-west on the plateau of Thuamal Rampur. The hill ranges on both its banks recedes as the turns to the west-south –west and enters Nowrangpur tahsil of Korapur district (Orissa).

The Indravati is the main river of Bastar for it traversers across its right through the heart of the District. Its course in the District is about 209 km. and the drainage area covers about two-third of the District. Nearly all rivers flowing on the Bastar Plateau and Abujhmarh hills join it from Nogarna on the easter boundary to Chitrakoot has meandering course.

The total course of the Indravati is 406 km of which 40 km lies in Kalahandi, 77 km in Koraput, including the length of length along the western boundary of that district and 289 km in Bastar District including the lengths along the eastern and western boundaries. The course of the after meeting the Pamlagotam is 93 km, common with the Chandrapur district boundary.

Status of Godavari Rivers: 

Prima facie when one looks at the remote and relatively underdeveloped (sic) situation within the river Indravati basin, it appears that the most rivers including the mainstem Indravati must be pristine and healthy. It is quite a shocker to find the ground situation to be quite different. 


Pollution Sources of Chhattisgarh Rivers  : 

Rivers such as Shivnath, Hasdeo, Indrawati, Kharoon etc are found to be polluted at different stretches due to industrial, domestic and agricultural pollution. Among all the rivers Hasdeo river is the most polluted. This is resulting from major industrial centres located in Bhilai, Korba, Raipur, Bilaspur and Raigarh districts. While the scenario as above calls for ameliorative measures, it is notable that the stretch of Sheonath as it traverses past the industrialized towns of Durg and Bhilai do not find a mention in the above list. That the list as above is incomplete is exemplified by the following news item that mentions about the rampant pollution being faced by river Arpa within the city of Bilaspur.

Colour classification of Chhattisgarh Rivers  

MAHANADI  [75,858  sq  km;  Sillari,  Sondhur,  Pairi,  Sukha,  Kodar,  Sheonath (Sukha    Gamriya, Kharkhara, Tendula, Sonvarsha, Amner, Surhi, Dotua, Kharun, Hanph/Sakri, Maniari, Arpa, Jamunia, Khorsi, Lilaghar), Jonk, Hasdeo, Mand, Ib, Kelo]

GODAVARI [38,694 sq km; Indravati (Bhaskar Nala, Narangi, Kapari, Boardhig, Gudra, Nibra, Kotri, Dantewara, Berudi, Koker, Peddavagu, Chintavagu); Talperu, Goddaivagu, Kolab/Sabari]

GANGA [18,407 sq km; Sone (Banas, Gopad, Rihand, Kanhar)]

BRAHMINI [1394 sq km; No notable stream]

NARMADA [743 sq km; No notable stream]

A report by Manoj Misra (yamunajiye@gmail.com, indiariversweek2014@gmail.com)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s