Brahmani and Baitarni

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Hydrological Observation Stations Map

Hydrological Observation Stations Map


The basin consisting of Brahmani and Baitarni extends over states of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh having an area of 51,822 which is nearly 1.7% of the total geographical area of the country with a maximum length and width of 403 km and 193 km. It lies between 83°55’ to 87°3’ east longitudes and 20°28’ to 23°38’ north latitudes. The basin is bounded by the Chhotanagpur Plateau on the north, by the ridge separating it from Mahanadi basin on the west and the south and by the Bay of Bengal on the east. The Brahmani sub basin covers 39,033 and has a long sausage shape. The Baitarni sub basin extends over 12,789 and is roughly circular in shape. The Brahmani, known as South Koel in its upper reaches, rises near Nagri village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand at an elevation of about 600 m. The river has a total length of 799 km. In its tail reach, the river is known as Maipura. The Baitarni River rises near Dumuria village in the hill ranges of Kendujhar district of Odisha at an elevation of about 900 m and has a length of about 355 km. The river is known as Dhamra in its lower reaches. The important tributaries of Brahmani joining it from left are the Karo, and the Sankh whereas the Tikra joins from right. The main tributaries of Baitarni joining from left are the Salandi and the Matai. Brahmani and Baitarni form common delta area before outfalling into the Bay of Bengal. The major part of basin is covered with agricultural land accounting to 52.04% of the total area and 2.95% of the basin is covered by water bodies. The basin spreads over 16 parliamentary constituencies (2009) comprising 10 of Odisha, 4 of Jharkhand, and 2 of Chhattisgarh.

Salient Features of Brahmani and Baitarni Basin
Basin Extent
83° 55’ to 87° 3’ E
20° 28’ to 23° 38’ N
Length of River (Km)
Catchment Area ( 51822
Average Water Resource Potential(MCM) 28480
Utilizable Surface Water Resource (MCM) 18300
Live Storage Capacity of Completed Projects (MCM) 5070.0
Live Storage Capacity of Projects Under Construction (MCM) 465.0
Total Live storage capacity of Projects (MCM) 5535.0
No. of Hydrological Observation Stations (CWC) 15
No. of Flood Forecasting Stations (CWC) 3

The state-wise break up of drainage area of Brahmani Basin is given below.

Sl.No.Name of StateDrainage area (sq. km.)

The Baitarani is one of the important east flowing rivers of peninsular India, flowing eastward and joining the Bay of Bengal. Major portion of its catchment lies in the state of Orissa and a small patch of the upper reach falls in Jharkhand. The river originates from the hill ranges of Keonjhar district of Orissa near Mankarancho village at an elevation of about 900 meter. The total catchment area of this basin is 10,982 sq. km. The basin is situated approximately between East longitudes of 85°10' to 87°03' and between North latitudes of 20°35' to 22°15'.The basin is surrounded by the Brahmani basin on the South and West, the Subarnarekha basin on the North, the Burhabalang and the Bay of Bengal on the east.The river is flashy in nature having a total length of 355 km., with the upper reach up to Anandpur in the hilly region.There is a considerable fall in elevation from RL 367m at Champua to RL Anandpur. State-wise distribution of the catchment area is shown below

State-wise Catchment area distribution

Sl.No. Name of State Catchment Area ( Percentage of total


The combined basin consisting of Brahmani and Bitarani extends over an area of 51822 sq. km. which is nearly 1.7% of the total geographical area of the country. The independent drainage areas of Brahmani and Baitarani are 93033 sq. km. and 12879 sq. km respectively. The basin is bounded on the north by the Chhotanagpur Plateau, on the west and south by the ridge separating it from Mahandi basin and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. The basin lies in the States of Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The State-wise distribution of drainage area is given below:

StateDrainage area (sq. km)
Madhya Pradesh1316

Physiographically, there are four well-defined regions, namely , the northen plateau, the eastern ghats, the coastal plains and the central table land. The first two regions are mostly hilly and forested. The coastal plains consist of fertile delta area well-suited for intensive cultivation. The main soil types found in the basin are red and yellow soils, red sandy and loamy soils, mixed red and black soils and coastal alluvium. The basin has a culturable area of about 3.2 M. ha which is 1.6% of the total culturable area of the country.

River System

The Brahmani river rises near Nagri village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand at an elevation of about 600 m and has a total length of 799 km. The Baitarani river rises in the hill ranges of Keonjhar district of Orissa at an elevation of about 900 m and has length of about 365 km. Both river systems outfall into the Bay of Bengal forming a common delta area. The important tributaries of Brahmani are the Karo, the Sankh, and the Tirka and those of Baitarani are the Salandi and the Matai.

Status of Surface Water Development

Orissa canal system which uses waters of Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani was the only important irrigation project existing in the basin in the pre-plan period. During the plan period, important project completed in the basin was Salandi project. Rengali multi-purpose project on Brahmani and Anandapur barrage on Baitarani are important projects under construction.

Hydropower Development

As per the latest assessment, the hydropower potential of the basin is 548 MW at 60% load factor. Out of 17 schemes identified in the basin, only on schemes with an installed capacity of 135 MW is in operation. The potential tapped is thus only 16% of the assed potential. Therefore, a large hydropower potential of this basin remains untapped.

Urban Centres and Industries

The basin is rich in a variety of minerals such as iron ore, copper, bauxite etc. The industrial development potential of this basin is very high due to this rich mineral resources and power potential. Rourkela is an important industrial centre located in this basin. Iron and steel, fertilizers, DDT and insecticide factories are located here.

Hydrologic Network

The Central Water Commission maintains 15 gauge-discharge sites in the basin. All these stations take sediment observations also. Six of the sites are in Brahmani and one site is in Baitarani basin. The Central Water Commission operates three flood forecasting stations in the basin, one on Brahmani and two on Baitarani. The State Government also maintains some gauge-discharge sites in this basin.


The lower reaches of this basin near the deltaic area is subject to floods. Since Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani are interconnected near their delta, worst flood occur when there is simultaneous heavy rains in all the three catchments. Prolonged submergence and breaching of embankments are common occurrences during floods. Floods are also caused from cyclonic storms since the coastal areas of the basin are cyclone-prone.

Water Resources

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