Water Resource Management in the State of Jharkhand

water resources

Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water. Water is essential for our survival. The field of water resources management deals with the current and future issues facing the allocation of water. State of Jharkhand is in great need of development of water resources as it is a water starved/deficient state and managing /utilizing the available water resources is of prime importance for the state. The State Water Resources Department is primarily involved in development of all kinds of water resources in the state. Jharkhand has a total agricultural land of 29.74 lakh ha. Against the total cultivable area, 24.25 lakh ha Irrigation Potential can be created.  12.765 lakh hectare irrigation Potential has to be created though Major and Medium Irrigation Projects and 11.485 lakh ha Irrigation potential has to be created through Minor Irrigation Schemes and other sources. The principal objectives of water resource management in Jharkhand are:

  • Increasing irrigation coverage
  • Making the existing irrigation network more efficient.
  • Moving towards effective Participatory Irrigation Management.
  • Emphasis on minor and lift irrigation projects as they are more suitable and economical and have low gestation period. 
  • Recharge and replenish the decreasing Groundwater Table.
  • Providing Industrial water to prospective Industries.
  • Inter River basin transfer of water.  

Land Pattern in Jharkhand

S. No.CategoryAreas in Lakh hectareAreas in percentage
1Cultivable Area29.7437.30
2Forest Area23.9230.00
4Waste Land7.179.00
5Scrub forest4.385.50
6Builtup Area3.995.00

Major Thrust Areas of Water Resource Management in Jharkhand

  • Irrigation Sector
  • Flood Control Sector
  • Command Area Development
  • Inter River Basin Transfer of Water
  • IndustrialWater

Interlinking of Rivers

1.Inter Basin Transfer of Water from South Koel Basin to Subarnarekha Basin

It has been proposed to transfer additional and unused 1281 MCM of water available at Manoharpur Block of  South Koel Basin into Subarnarekha Basin through Tajna river to Chandil Dam via Kharkai river. The second identified site for transfer of water from South Koel Basin has been proposed through Tajna River at d/s of Murmu site into Kharkai river via river Sanjay.

Intra-Linking of River South Koel with River Subarnarekha

2.Inter Basin Transfer of Water from Damodar – Barakar river Basin to Subarnarekha Basin

The additional unused surplus water from Barakar river through the proposed Belpahari Dam, (available water of 4.0 Lakh Acre ft or 493.4 MCM) lying under Jharkhand share in Damodar Basin has been proposed to transfer into Subarnarekha Basin by establishing proposed link connecting Belpahari site of barakar river near Tundi to Subarnarekha river at Muri & also connecting Damodar river near Bermo. 

3.Inter Basin Transfer of water from Sankh Basin to South Koel Basin.

It has been proposed to transfer around 403 MCM of water available from the proposed Hydel Power sites in Sankh Basin to South Koel Basin near Gumla. The water may in turn be collected in the main stream of South Koel river. This water may also be transferred through the same inter river links as proposed for South Koel Basin water into Subarnarekha Basin.

Interstate Issues

There are a few schemes in Jharkhand which have interstate issues relating to the management, construction, operation & maintenance and sharing of costs and benefits with other states mainly Bihar. Presently, there are three interstate issues on which MOU regarding management, construction, operation & maintenance has been done are listed below:

1. North Koel Reservoir Project

It is agreed by both the Governments of Bihar & Jharkhand that the remaining works of the common components of North Koel Reservoir Project i.e. a dam across River North Koel near Kutku and a Pick-up Barrage near Mohammadganj in Palamu district, Jharkhand, shall be constructed, operated and maintained under the overall guidance of a two tier Committee constituted for the purpose and the benefit derived thereupon to be shared between the States of Bihar and Jharkhand. North Koel Reservoir project has CCA in Jharkhand 12470 Ha but in Bihar it has CCA 111800 Ha.

The 75% dependable water availability of the river system at the North Koel Reservoir is 987 MCM which will be shared between the States of Bihar & Jharkhand in proportion to the Irrigation and Municipal & Industrial benefits derived.

North Koel Reservoir Project

2. Batane Reservoir Project

Both the Government of Bihar as well as Jharkhand agrees that remaining works of the common components of Batane Reservoir project shall be constructed, operated and maintained under the overall guidance of a two tier Committees constituted for the purpose and the benefits derived thereupon to be shared between the State of Bihar & Jharkhand. The common components of the project shall be constructed by the concerned department of the Govt of Jharkhand as a deposit work and its cost will be shared between the two States in proportion to the irrigation benefits as per DPR (Detailed Project Report) to be derived by them for this project.

Batane Reservoir Project has CCA 1660 ha in Jharkhand and In Bihar it has CCA 10466 ha. 64.14 MCM available water has to be shared between the two States in proportion to the irrigation benefits derived. The Govt of Jharkhand has also the right for development of aquaculture, lift irrigation from the reservoir without affecting the regulation  and life of the dam and also the development of tourism/recreational activities in the reservoir.        

3. Bateshwarsthan Pump Canal

Both the Governments of Bihar & Jharkhand agree that remaining works of the common components of Bateshwarsthan Pump Canal Scheme i.e. a pumping station in Bihar on the Right bank of River Ganga and a high level main canal, which enters into the Jharkhand’s territory at 47.10 RD and leaves Jharkhand’s territory at 150.00 RD and re-enters into Bihar territory has to be constructed, operated and maintained under the two tier Committees constituted for the purpose and the benefits derived thereupon to be shared between the State of Bihar & Jharkhand. This scheme has CCA in Bihar 22328 ha and 4887 ha in Jharkhand. 978 cusec water pumped from River Ganga through this scheme has to be shared between the States of Bihar & jharkhand in proportion to the irrigation benefits derived.

Bateshwarsthan Pump Canal

River Basins/ Sub-River Basins of Jharkhand

  • Subarnarekha River Basin
  • Kharkai River Sub- Basin
  • South Koel River Basin
  • Barakar River Sub-Basin
  • Damodar River Basin
  • Sankh River Basin
  • North Koel River basin
  • Punpun River Basin
  • Sone(Stem)- Kanhar and Kao-Ganges River Composite Basin
  • Mayurakshi River Basin
  • Ajay River Basin
  • Ganga Stem Basin
  • Gumani and Koa- Bhena basin
  • Belsai Chandan Chir River basin
  • Harohar River Basin

Water Level of Reservoirs

S. No.Name of ReservoirDSL (m)FRL (m)
1Paras Reservoir Scheme664.329674.390
2Nandani Reservoir Scheme667.682674.695
3Buchaopa Reservoir Scheme663.410668.902
4Latratu Reservoir Scheme609.756626.905
5Dhansingtoli Reservoir Scheme525.300535.975
6Getalsud Reservoir Scheme579.268590.243
7Surangi Reservoir Scheme286.190297.170
8Masaria Reservoir Scheme615.243624.390
9Jaipur Reservoir Scheme733.231742.988
10Katari Reservoir Scheme637.195647.256
11Tapkara Reservoir Scheme571.951580.793
12Chinda Reservoir Scheme403.658409.390
13Larwa Reservoir Scheme548.780587.195
14Kansjor Reservoir Scheme420.229428.482
15Upper sankh Reservoir Scheme749.430767.680
16Torlo Reservoir Scheme301.829308.537
17Jainasai Reservoir Scheme240.548250.305
18Baranadi Reservoir Scheme121.950128.050
19Diggalpahari Reservoir Scheme125.000 
20Kairabani Reservoir Scheme128.050138.110
21Suryodi Reservoir Scheme76.22080.790
22Masanjor Dam (Mayurakshi Left Bank Canal)109.750121.340
23Tanughat Dam Project249.085268.902
24Gonda Reservoire Scheme614.787619.817
25Ghagara Reservoir Scheme510.061522.256
26Jamuniya Reservoir Scheme439.558445.732
27Boudha Reservoir Scheme555.183561.890
28Lotiya Reservoir Scheme478.963487.805
29Hiru Reservoir Scheme450.762458.537
30Dhulki Reservoir Scheme185.061189.939
31Baksa Reservoir Scheme406.098413.262
32Anjanwa Reservoir Scheme406.860412.119
33Barhi Reservoir Scheme395.427400.150
34Anraj Reservoir Scheme239.940252.440
35Dhankai Reservoir Scheme220.440225.300
36Chirka Reservoir Scheme406.400415.630
37Danro Reservoir Scheme286.500294.510
38Left Banki Reservoir Scheme271.180278.960
39Pandrwa Reservoir Scheme288.110298.000
40Babhanikhar Reservoir Scheme248.780256.700
41Chataniyaghat Reservoir Scheme183.230192.070
42Malay Reservoir Scheme280.030293.440
43Butanduba Reservoir Scheme246.340257.310
44Temarain Reservoir Scheme249.080256.090
45Batare Reservoir Scheme204.570214.330
46Batane Dam219.140232.850

Groundwater Resources

The importance of groundwater for the existence of human society cannot be overemphasized. Groundwater is the major source of drinking water in both urban and rural Jharkhand. Besides, it is an important source of water for the agricultural and the industrial sector. It is a renewable resource. Being an important and integral part of the hydrological cycle, its availability depends on the rainfall and recharge conditions. Till recently it had been considered a dependable source of uncontaminated water. However, now its quantity quality is going down due to overexploitation and its contamination through various sources, including industrial waste. Jharkhand receives 1100 mm to 1442 mm rainfall, out of which 23800 MCM comes as Surface water and 500 MCM as ground water. But due to Geographical setup about 80% Surface water and 74% ground water goes outside state which is responsible for 38% of drought of Jharkhand. After the creation of Jharkhand, all the towns as well as capital Ranchi have shown a declining trend of ground water level. Consequently, in the peak summer, wells and tube wells go dry. This has necessitated the need for artificial recharge to cater to the need of ground water demand, particularly in the urban areas.

Present scenario of groundwater and surface water in Jharkhand is as follows:-

  1. Ground Water Reserve of Jharkhand – 4292 M.C.M.
  2. Surface Water – 25876.98 M.C.M.
  3. Allocation for irrigation required by fields – 3813.17 M.C.M.
  4. Industry Requirement – 4338 M.C.M.
  5. Urban area requirement – 1616.35 lakh gallons
  6. Availability in urban area – 734.35 lakh gallons

One of the biggest concerns for the water-based resources in the future is the viability of the current and future water resource allocation.As water becomes scarcer, the importance of how it is managed grows vastly. Finding a balance between what is needed by humans and what is needed in the environment is an important step in the sustainability of water resources.


Department of Water Resources, Government of Jharkhand wrdjharkhand.nic.in


Dr. Siddhartha Sengupta, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi

Image Source: watergovernance.org, tathya.in, iastoppers.com

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