The basin extends over states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat having an area of 65,145 Sq.km with a maximum length and width of 534 & 196 km. It lies between 72°33’ to 78°17’ east longitudes and 20°9’ to 21°50’ north latitudes. Situated in the Deccan plateau, the basin is bounded by the Satpura range on the north, by the Mahadev hills on the east, by the Ajanta Range and the Satmala hills on the south and by the Arabian Sea on the west. The hilly region of the basin is well forested while the plains are broad and fertile areas suitable for cultivation. The Tapi is the second largest westward draining river of the Peninsula. It originates near Multai reserve forest in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of 752 m. The total length of the river from origin to outfall into the Arabian Sea is 724 km and its important tributaries are the Suki, the Gomai, the Arunavati and the Aner which joins it from right, and those joining from left are the Vaghur, the Amravati, the Buray, the Panjhra, the Bori, the Girna, the Purna, the Mona and the Sipna. The major part of basin is covered with agriculture accounting to 66.19% of the total area. 2.99% of the basin is covered by water bodies. The basin spreads over 18 parliamentary constituencies (2009) comprising 12 of Maharashtra, 3 of Gujarat and 3 of Madhya Pradesh.

Salient Features of Tapi Basin
Basin Extent

72° 33’ to 78° 17’ E
20° 9’ to 21° 50’ N
Length of Indus River (Km) 724
Catchment Area (Sq.km.) 65145
Average Water Resource Potential (MCM) 14880
Utilizable Surface Water Resource(MCM) 14500
Live Storage Capacity of Completed Projects (MCM) 9088.0
Live Storage Capacity of Projects Under Construction (MCM) 1555.0
Total Live Storage Capacity of Projects (MCM) 10643.0
No. of Hydrological Observation Stations (CWC) 18
No. of Flood Forecasting Stations (CWC) 3


The Tapi Basin is situated in the northern part of the Deccan Plateau and extends over an area of 65145 sqkm which is nearly 2% of the total geographical area of the country. Nearly 80% of the basin lies in the State of Maharashtra. The basin lies between east longitudes of 720 38’ to 780 17’ and north latitudes of 200 05’ to 220 03. It is bound in the north by the Satpura range in the east by the Mahadeo hills, in the south by the Ajanta range and Satmala hills and in the west by the Arabian Sea. The river is bound on the three sides by the hill ranges. The Tapi River along with its tributaries flows over the plains of Vidharbha, Khandesh and Gujarat and over large areas in the state of Maharashtra and a small area in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The basin has an elongated shape with a maximum length of 587 km from east to west and the maximum width of 210 km from north to south. Perimeter of the basin is about 1840 km. The State wise distribution of the drainage area is given in the table:

StateDrainage area (sq. km.)
Madhya Pradesh9804

There are two well defined physical regions, in the basin, viz hilly region and plains; the hilly regions comprising Satpura, Satmalas, Mahadeo, Ajanta and Gawilgarh hills are well forested. The plain covers the Khandesh areas which are broad and fertile suitable for cultivation primarily. The basin consists of black soils; The coastal plains of Gujarat are composed of alluvial clays with a layer of black soil above. The culturable area of the basin is about 4.29 Mha which is 2.2% of the total culturable area of the country. The forest cover is about 25% of the area in the basin. Physiographically, the area is a basaltic landscape with major physiographic units of plateau lands, escarpments, hills, piedmont plains, colluvio-alluvial plains and valley plains.</p. <p align=“justify”>The entire Tapi basin can be divided in three sub basins: Upper Tapi Basin up to Hathnur (confluence of Purna with the main Tapi (29,430 sq km), Middle Tapi Basin from Hathnur up to the Sarangkheda gauging site (28,970 sqkm), and the Lower Tapi Basin from Sarangkheda up to Sea (6,745 sq km). The annual rainfall for the upper, middle and lower Tapi basins for an average year is 931.90 mm, 713.05 mm and 1407.9 mm respectively.

River System

The Tapi is a river of central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with the length of around 724 km; it runs from east to west. Tapi river rises near Multai in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of about 752 m and flows for about 724 km before outfalling into the Arabian Sea through the Gulf of Cambay. It is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west - the others being the Narmada River and the Mahi River. The Tapi is the second largest westward draining inter-state river basin. It covers a large area in the State of Maharashtra besides areas in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Tapi River drains an area of 65145 sq km out of which nearly 80 percent lies in Maharashtra. The State wise distribution of the drainage area is shown in Table.

Sl. No.Name of StateDrainage area (sqkm)Percentage of total
1Madhya Pradesh9,80415,0
Total 65,145 100,0

For the first 282 Km., the river flows in Madhya Pradesh, out of which 54 Km form the common boundary with Maharashtra State. It rises in the eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state, and flows westward, draining Madhya Pradesh's historic Nimar region. It flows for 228 Km in Maharashtra draining historic Khandesh and east Vidarbha re-gions in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau before entering Gujarat. Traversing a length of 214 Km in Gujarat, the Tapi joins Arabian sea in Gulf of Cambay after flowing past the Surat city. The river receives tidal influence for a length of about 20 Km upstream from mouth i.e. up to Singanapore weir.

The Tapi River Basin lies mostly in northern and eastern districts Maharashtra state viz, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar, Malegaon, Nashik districts but also covers Betul, Burhanpur districts of Madhya Pradesh and Surat district in Gujarat as well.

The Tapi receives several tributaries on both banks. There are 14 major tributaries having a length more than 50 Km. On the right bank 4 tributaries namely, the Vaki, the Gomai, the Arunavati and the Aner join the Tapi. On the left bank, 10 important tributaries namely the Nesu, the Arunavati, the Buray, the Panjhra, the Bori, the Girna, the Vaghur, the Purna, the Mona and the Sipna drain into the main channel. The drainage system on the left bank of the Tapi is therefore, more extensive as compared to the right bank area.

The Purna and the Girna, the two important left bank tributaries together account for nearly 45 percent of the total catchment area of the Tapi. The Purna is one of the principal tributaries of the Tapi, starts in Betul district in Gawilgar hills of the Satpura range and mostly drains through three districts of Vidharbha namely Amravati, Akola and Buldhana. The Girna another Major tributary rises in the Western Ghats and drains Nasik and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra.

Major Tributaries of the Tapi River System

Purna River

Purna, is one of the tributaries of Tapi, joins from the left. The Purna is the principal affluent of the Tapi. It is the main artery of a network of rivers and streams draining Akola, Amravati and Buldana districts of Maharashtra and Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. It is the only river in the upper Tapi Basin, which has a perennial flow. Rising in the Gawilgarh hills at an elevation of 900 m., North latitude 210 38’ 00” and East longitude 770 36’ 00”, the Purna flows first in a South westerly direction for about 60 km through hills and forests before it enters the Purna plains. Flowing in a generally westerly direction for a length of 274 Km, the Purna joins the Tapi north west of Edalabad. The Man is the main left bank tributaries of Purna, and Chandrabhaga and Wan are the principal right bank tributaries. Thus Purna drains a total area of 18, 929 Sq.km.

Girna River

The Girna River is a river in Maharashtra state of southern India. It originates at Kem peak in the Western Ghats range of Nashik District with a latitude of 21° 7' 60 N and a longitude of 75° 19' 0 E, and flows east across Nashik and Jalgaon districts, swinging north in Jalgaon District to join the Tapti River. The dams on the river are Chanakapur and Girana Dam. The name Girna derives from the name of Goddess Giraja (Parvati). A 100 sq km area around Girna River has an approximate population of 979337 (0.009793 persons per square meter) and an average elevation of 246 meters above the sea. The basin of the Girna lies on the Deccan Plateau, and its valley has fertile soils which are intensively farmed.


Gomai River is tributary of Tapti River. It originates in Satpura Mountain Range and merge in Tapi River around 2 km east of Prakasha. Gomai river itself has many small tributary rivers like Susri river (passing by Sultanpur), Tipria river (passing by Mandane), Umri river, Sukhi river.


The Panzara-Kan or Panjhra is a river in Khandesh region of Maharashtra state of India. It is a tributary of the Tapi River. Panjhra River originates just few kilometers from a small town Pimpalner, Tal-Sakri in Dhule District. One small reservoir named Latipada dam is constructed just after its origin.


The only important left bank tributary of the Purna is the Pedhi. It rises in the low hills near Rithpur and receives a number of small affluent both from the east and the west, the chief on the west being the Naghira river.


The first of the principal right bank affluent of the Purna is the Arna which emerges from the Satpuda hills in Betul district and flows in a south and south-easterly direction passing by Sirasgaon to join the Purna just below Deurwada.

Climatic Conditions

The climate of the Tapi Basin is characterized by a hot summer and general dryness throughout the year except during the south-west monsoon season in the upper and middle part of basin but the lower part of the Tapi River Basin shows variation in temperature, rainfall, humidity and other climatic parameters. The year may be divided into four periods. The winter from December to February, the summer from March to May, the south-west monsoon season from June to September and the post-monsoon period from the October to November.


Temperature of Tapi basin is like any other part of central India, the temperature is maximum in the month of May and minimum in the month of December to January. In general, upper and middle part of Tapi basin record lower temperature as compared to the lower Tapi basin where the influence of the sea is prominent, and temperature fluctuation is lower than the upper and middle basin.


The south west monsoon sets in the Tapi basin in the middle of June and withdraws by mid October. About 90 percent of total rainfall is received during the monsoon months, of which 50% is received during July and August. The Tapi River basin shows different climatic characteristics due to the variation of topography from upper to lower part of basin. The average rainfall in the Tapi basin is 888.0 mm.


Wind speed profile of the basin, based on data collected, is given in table-7. The average monthly wind speed in the Tapi basin varies between about 15 km/h and 1.2 km/h. In the pre and post monsoon period, the wind speed is generally higher. The predominant wind direction is NW followed by SW and W.


The morning relative humidity in the basin varies between 92.4 % to 34.6 % and the evening relative humidity is between 85.8 % to 25.4 % depending upon the season. Humidity is maximum during the monsoon months and is around 80% to 90%. In winter months of December and January, relative humidity comes down to around 30%. Variation in relative humidity between upper, middle and lower section of basin is not very pronounced except in the vicinity of coastal areas.


The soil in the Tapi basin up to Ukai Dam can be broadly classified in to three groups.

1. Coarse shallow soils

2. Medium black soils

3. Deep black soils.

The area covered by these three group of soils in the basin is given in table

Sl. No.Type of SoilDistricts covered
1Coarse shallow soilsBetul, Khandwa, Khargon, Amrawati, Akola, Buldhana, Jalgaon, Dhule, Aurangabad and Nasik
2Medium black soilsKhandwa, Amrawati, Akola, Buldhana, Jalgaon, Dhule, and Nasik
3Deep black soilsAmrawati, Akola, Buldhana, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nasik, Surat and Bharuch

Coarse shallow soils

These soils have developed primarily from the basaltic Deccan trap and have been considerably affected by natural processes of weathering and erosion. Their depth is generally between 25cm to 50 cm and seldom more, their texture from surface to sub surface varies from silty loam to clay. Their organic matter content is usually poor and they are moderately drained.

Medium black soils

These soils have developed from Deccan traps and cover the largest area of the basin. Their depth is generally between 50cm to 1m. these soils contain higher lime reserve and are alkaline in reaction. These soils are fair in their contents of phosphates and potash but low in organic matter and nitrogen.

Deep black soils

These soils are found along the Purna river and in the middle and lower reaches of Tapi River. These soils have originated primarily from decomposition of trap rocks of hilly ranges. The depth of this soil varies from 1m to 6m. The soil have very high clay content Montmorillonite predominating and not easily workable during monsoon. The soil reaction varies from neutral to alkaline.


The Tapi basin exhibits two distinct geographical regions, viz., the plain regions in the east and south-east and the hilly regions of the Satpura ranges in north and northwest. The plain region is extensively cultivated and forests appear only in dotted, scattered patches. The hilly region is an extensive block of compact forests and contains an abundance of rich teak trees. The percentage of the forest area to total area in the Tapi basin is approximately 25% of the total area, and is unevenly distributed.

Tree Forests

These include the forests of producing big-size teak and timber of other type.

Minor Forests

These include the forests in the plain regions, which are capable of producing smallsize timber poles of teak, etc. These forests also supply fire-wood, thorns and grass and serve as good pastures for grazing the cattle.

Babul Bans

These are artificially created forests of Babul (Acacia arabica) in the cultivated plain tracts and lie dotted over the area.

Ramnas and Pasture Forests

These include open forests with sparse tree growth and lie mostly in the plain regions, where an intense demand exists for grass and grazing.


The forests are managed under regular working plans, the object being the supply of large-size timber for commercial use. The minor forests like Babul Bans and the Ramnas and pasture lands are being maintained to supply the local demand for smallsize timber, fuel, grass and grazing.

Forest Produce

The major forest produce is timber. The minor forest produce constitutes various items, such as bamboo, fuel, Rosha grass, fodder grass, minerals, horns and hides, Tendu leaves and gum.

Forest Trees

The most useful trees and plants found in these forests, are given below: -

Teak (Tectona grandis), Tiwas (Ougenia dalbergioides), Shisham (Dalbergia latifolia)., Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium)., Haldu (Adina cordifolia), Saj (Terminalia tomenlosa), Dhawda (Anogeissus latifolia), Dhaman (Grewia tiliaefolia), Semal (Bombax malabaricum; Silk cotton tree), Siivan (Gmelina arborea), Kusum (Schleichera trijuga), Kalam (Stephegyne parvifolia), Kahu (Terminalia arjuna), Landia (Lagerstroemia parviflora), Harra (Terminalia chebula), Bhormal (Hymenodictyon excelsum), Salai (Boswellia serrata), Moyen (Odina nodier), Kekda (Garuga pinnata), Maharukh (Ailanthus excelsa), Moha (Madhuca latifolia),Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon Achar (Buchanania lanzan), Aonla (Emblica officinalis) Beheda (Terminalia belerica), Bhilawa (Semecarpus anacardium) Amba (Mangifera indica) Bor (Zizyphus jujuba) Palas (Butea frondosa) Babul (Acacia arabica) Khair (Acacia calechu), Anjan (Hardwickia binata), Jamun (Eugenia jambolana), Bhosa (Bauhiniarecemosa), Rohan (Soymida febrifuga), Amalatas (Cassia fistula), Bel (Aeglemarmelos), Kumbhi (Careya arborea), Gular (Ficus species), Dahi-palas (Cordias), Mokha (Schrebera swietenioides), Bhirra (Chlo-roxylon swietenia), Hiwar (Acacialeucophloea), Kulu (Sterculia urens), Gongal (Cochlospermum gossypium) Dudhi (Wrightia tinctoria), Arang (Kydia calycina) Pangra (Exythrina Indica), Bamboos (Dendrocalamus strictus).

Status of Surface Water Development

The pre-plan water resources development in the basin is mainly through medium and minor projects. During the plan period Kakrapar, Ukai, Upper Tapi and Girna projects were completed. Important projects under construction in the basin are Waghur & Punad. As per inter-state agreements between MP & Maharashtra out of the water available upto Ukai dam site (Gujarat) the sharing will as below.

Madhya Pradesh70.0 TMC
Maharashtra191.40 TMC

Tapi Agreement.jpg

Important Projects in Tapi Basin

The salient features of the important projects, namely Hathnur Dam of Upper Tapi Project, Kakrapar weir and Ukai Dam of Ukai Project, Girna Dam and Dahigaon Weir of Girna Project, are as follows:

Hathnur Dam (Maharashtra)

This is the first stage of Upper Tapi Project. It consists of 717 m long Ogee shaped gated overflow weir in the centre with 1863 m long earthen embankment on either side constructed across the river Tapi near Hathnur village in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra State. It is having a live storage capacity of 255 MCM to irrigate 3,78,384 hectares of land in Raver, Yawal and Chopda talukas of Jalgaon district by a right bank canal of 95 km length.

Kakrapar Weir (Gujarat)

The project comprises of an Ogee shaped masonry pick up weir constructed across the Tapi River near Kakrapar in Surat district of Gujarat. The weir was constructed at a cost of Rs.20.61 crores. The weir is 621 m long and 14m high. Two canals take off from either bank to irrigate an area of 2.28 lakh ha. This project was commissioned in the year 1954 as stage – I of the Ukai project.

Ukai Dam (Gujarat)

This is stage - II of the multipurpose Ukai Project. It consists of 4928 m long and 68.6 m high composite earth - cum - masonry dam across the Tapi River near Ukai village in Surat district of Gujarat State. It includes a spillway with power dam constructed on the left bank. Two canals take off from either bank to irrigate an area of 1.58 lakh ha. The power house has an installed capacity of 4 units of 75 MW each.

Girna Dam (Maharashtra)

It is constructed across river Girna, a tributary of river Tapi near Panzan village in Nandgaon taluka of Nasik district. This is a multipurpose scheme, main purpose being irrigation and subsidiary power generation (power generation yet to be started). This is a composite dam having total length of 963.17 m, masonry dam with gated spillway for a length of 426.72 m and earthen dam of length of 536.45 m respectively.

Dahigam Weir (Maharashtra)

It is constructed across river Girna near Dahigaon village in Pachora Taluka of Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. It consists of a Ogee shaped Weir having a length of 422.76m and a maximum height of 8.82m. It irrigates an area of 57797 ha land through left bank canal of 45.06 Km. length.

Hydropower Development

At present Hydro Power station is located in Ukai Dam.

Urban Centres and Industries

Important industries in the basin are textile factories in Surat and paper and news print factory at Nepanagar. Other industries are machine tools, drugs and pharmaceuticals, plastic and allied products.

Hydrologic Network

Hydrological observations are carried out by the Central and State Governments. The Central Water Commission maintains 18 gauge-discharge sites in the basin. In addition, gauge-discharge data are available at 43 sites established by the State Government. The Central Water commission also operates 3 flood forecasting stations in the basin.

Inter-State Agreements

1. Agreement Dated 8th march 1964 between the Governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh regarding inter-state irrigation and view

2. Agreement Dated 16th May, 1969 between the Governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh regarding inter-state Irrigation and Hydel Projects:view

3. Agreement Dated 12th January, 1986 for sharing of Tapi water between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. view


Water Year Book 2013-2014, Tapi Basin, CWC, Narmada and Tapi Basin Organization, Hydrological Observation Circle, March 2015.

Hydrology and Water Resources of India, Water Science and Technology Library Volume 57, 2007, pp 561-595 Tapi, Sabarmati and Mahi Basins, Sharad K. Jain, Pushpendra K. Agarwal, Vijay P. Singh (http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F1-4020-5180-8_12)

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