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Hydrological Observation Stations Map

Hydrological Observation Stations Map


The Mahanadi basin extends over states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and comparatively smaller portions of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, draining an area of 1,41,589 which is nearly 4.3% of the total geographical area of the country. The geographical extent of the basin lies between 80°28’ and 86°43’ east longitudes and 19°8’ and 23°32’ north latitudes. The basin has maximum length and width of 587 km and 400 km. It is bounded by the Central India hills on the north, by the Eastern Ghats on the south and east and by the Maikala range on the west. The Mahanadi is one of the major rivers of the country and among the peninsular rivers, in water potential and flood producing capacity, it ranks second to the Godavari. It originates from a pool, 6 km from Farsiya village of Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. The total length of the river from origin to its outfall into the Bay of Bengal is 851 km. The Seonath, the Hasdeo, the Mand and the Ib joins Mahanadi from left whereas the Ong, the Tel and the Jonk joins it from right. Six other small streams between the Mahanadi and the Rushikulya draining directly into the Chilka Lake also forms the part of the basin. The major part of basin is covered with agricultural land accounting to 54.27% of the total area and 4.45% of the basin is covered by water bodies. The basin spreads over 27 parliamentary constituencies (2009) comprising 13 of Odisha, 11 of Chhattisgarh, and 1 each of Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Salient Features of Mahanadi Basin
Basin Extent
80° 28’ to 86° 43’ E
19° 8’ to 23° 32’ N
Length of Mahanadi River (Km) 851
Catchment Area ( 141589
Average Water Resource Potential (MCM) 66880
Utilizable Surface Water Resource (MCM) 50000
Live Storage Capacity of Completed Projects (MCM) 12799.0
Live Storage Capacity of Projects Under Construction (MCM) 1465.0
Total Live Storage Capacity of Projects (MCM) 14244.0
No. of Hydrological Observation Stations (CWC) 39
No. of Flood Forecasting Stations (CWC) 4


Mahanadi basin extends over an area of 141,589 sq. km. which is nearly 4.3% of the total geographical area of the country. It is bounded on the north by the Central India Hills, on the south and east by the Eastern Ghats and on the west by the Maikala range. The basin lies in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra. The State-wise distribution of drainage area is given below:

StateDrainage area (sq. km.)
Madhya Pradesh75136

Physiographically, the basin can be divided into four regions, namely, the Northen Plateau, the Eastern Ghats, the Coastal Plain and the erosional plains of Central Table Land. The first two are hilly regions. The Coastal plain is the fertile delta area. The cenral table land is the central inerior region of the basin, traversed by the river and its tributaries. The main soil types found in the basin are red and yellow soils, mixed red and black soils, laterite soils,and deltaic soils. The basin has a culturable area of about 7.99 M. ha which is about 4% of the total culturable area of the country.


River System

Mahanadi rises from Raipur district of Chhatisgarh and flows for about 851 km before its outfall into the Bay of Bengal. Its main tributaries are the Seonath, the Jonk, the Hasdeo, the Mand, the ib, the Ong and the Tel.

Status of Surface Water Development

Two important projects completed during pre-plan period in the basin are the Mahanadi main canal and Tandula reservoir in Chhattisgarh. During the plan period many projects were taken up and completed. Important among them are the Hirakud dam, Mahanadi delta project, Hasdeo Bango, Mahanadi Reservoir Project.

Hydropower Development

As per latest assessment, the hydroelectric power potential of the basin is 627 MW at 60% load factor. Out of a total of 6 schemes identified in the basin, 2 schemes with a total installed capacity of 305 MW are in operation and one scheme with an installed capacity of 55 MW is under construction. These 3 schemes together will account for 37% of the assessed potential.

Urban Centres and Industries

Three important urban centes in the basin are Raipur, Durg and Cuttack.Mahanadi basin, because of its rich mineral resource and adequate power resource, has a favourable industrial climate. The Important industries presently existing in the basin are the Iron and Steel plant at Bhilai, aluminium factories at Hirakud and Korba, paper mill near Cuttack and cement factory at Sundargarh. Other industries based primarily on agricultural produce are sugar, textile and okl mills. Mining of coal, iron and manganese are other industrial activities.

Hydrologic Network

Hydrological observations are carried out by the Central as well as State Governments. The Central Water Commission maintains 39 gauge-discharge sites in the basin. At 13 of these stations, sediment observations are also made. In addition, gauge-discharge data are available at 34 sites established by the State Governments. The Central Water Commission maintain 4 flood forecasting stations in the basin.


The basin is subject to severe flooding occasionally in the delta area due to inadequate carrying capacity of the channels. The multi-purpose Hirakud dam provides some amount of flood relief by storing part of flood water. However, the problem still persists and a lasting solution need to be evolved.

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