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Chapter 04. India Drainage (Geography Notes)


➤ India has been adorned, with hundreds of large and small rivers, by the nature.
➤ The threefold physiographic division has an important bearing on the drainage of Indian Subcontinent.
➤ On the basis of their origin the river system of India can be classified into two categories:-
(i) The Himalayan rivers
(ii) The Peninsular rivers.
The Himalayan River System
➤ It is constituted by the Indus, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and their tributaries.
➤ These rivers originate from the lofty Himalayan ranges and are named as the Himalayan rivers.
➤ These rivers have large basins and catchment areas.
➤ The total basin area of the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra is 11.78, 8.61 and 5.8 lakh square kilometres respectively.
➤ The Himalayan rivers flow through deep I-shaped valleys called gorges. These gorges have been carved out by down cutting carried on side by side with the uplift of the Himalayas. These are examples of antecedent drainage.
➤ The Himalayan rivers are perennial in nature, i.e., the water flows throughout the year in these rivers.
➤ These rivers receive water both from the monsoons and snowmelt.
The perennial nature of these rivers makes them useful for irrigation.
➤ These rivers flow across the young fold mountains and are still in a youthful stage.
➤ The upper reaches of the Himalayan rivers are highly tortuous.
When they enter the plains, there is a sudden reduction in the speed of flow of water. Under these circumstances these rivers form meanders and often shift their beds.
➤ The Himalayan rivers form big deltas at their mouths. The Ganga- Brahmaputra delta is the largest in the world.
The Peninsular River System
➤ The Peninsular rivers have shorter and shallower courses as compared to their Himalayan Counterparts.
➤ A large number of the Peninsular rivers are seasonal, as their flow is dependent on rainfall.
➤ The Peninsular drainage system is older than the Himalayan one.
➤ Most of the major rivers of the Peninsula such as the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery flow Eastwards and drain into the Bay of Bengal.
➤ The Narmada and the Tapi are the only long rivers, which flow west and make estuaries rather than making a delta because of their swift flow and steep slopes.
➤ The drainage basins of the Peninsular rivers are comparatively smaller in size.
➤ Estuaries are partially enclosed bodies of water along coastlines where fresh water and salt water meet and mix.
River System of India
SOURCE: The Indus River rises in Tibet near Manas Sarovar Lake. Flowing westwards, it enters India in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir.
COURSE: It flows through the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh andPunjab in India then enters Pakistan and flowing further south reaches the Arabian Sea, east of Karachi.
TRIBUTARIES: Zaskar, Nubra, Shyok, and Hunza are the tributaries in India. Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej, Jhelum, and Beas are the tributaries in Pakistan.
CHARACTERISTICS: The slope is very gentle and with 2900 km length, Indus River is one of the longest rivers in the world.
SOURCE:The Ganges River originates in Gangotri glacier as Bhagirathi and joined by Alaknanda at Devprayag, It turns into Ganga.
COURSE: The Ganga River enters plains in Haridwar and from there it flows eastwards enlarged by the tributaries joining from left and right. The river divides in West Bengal and the distributary Hooghly flows southward to reach the Bay of Bengal. The main river enters into Bangladesh and joins with Brahmaputra river.It covers the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
TRIBUTARIES: Yamuna River joins Ganga at Allahabad as a right bank tributary. Ghagra, Gandak and Kosi Rivers arising from Nepal Himalayas join as left bank tributaries. Chambal, Betwa and Son rivers from central Highlands join as right bank tributaries. It covers the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
CHARACTERISTICS: The length is 2500 km and the slope is almost steep in the Himalayas and gentle in the plains. With more number of tributaries, the basin of the river is very huge.
SOURCE: The Brahmaputra River originates in Tibet to the east of Manas Sarovar Lake.
COURSE: The Brahmaputra River mostly flow outside India from the point of its origin and in the middle course, enters Arunachal Pradesh and later into Assam. Then, it flows eastwards into Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Brahmaputra River is called as River Padma.
TRIBUTARIES: In Arunachal Pradesh Dibang, Lohit and Kenula Rivers are its tributaries.
CHARACTERISTICS:The length of the river is 2900 km and is one of the longest rivers of the world.
These rivers are confined to the peninsular region and are dependent on rainfall for water. Unlike Himalayan Rivers, these rivers are shorter with small basins. NARMADA, TAPI, GODAVARI, KRISHNA, CAUVERY and MAHANADI are the main rivers.
It originates in Amarkantak hills in Madhya Pradesh and flows towards the west to join the Arabian Sea. It covers the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
It rises in Madhya Pradesh and covering the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra join the Arabian Sea.
It is known as DAKSHIN GANGA due to its area covered (over 1500 km). The Godavari River originates in Nasik in Maharashtra and covers the states of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh. Flowing eastwards, it joins in the Bay of Bengal.
It rises near MAHABALESHWAR in Maharashtra and covering an area of 1300 km, it flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh and reaches the Bay of Bengal.
Cauvery River originates in the Western Ghats and covering an area of 760 km, it reaches the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. The states covered are Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Besides the above other rivers include Mahi, Sabarmati, Subarna Rekha and so on.
List of the Projects, State, Location and their Purpose

S. No. Name of the Project Location State Purpose
1Nagarjuna Sagar multi-purpose ProjectRiver KrishnaAndhra PradeshIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
2Pochampad ProjectRiver GodavariAndhra PradeshIrrigation
3Lower Sileru ProjectRiver Sileru (Godavari)Andhra PradeshHydroelectricity
4Kakrapar ProjectRiver TapiGujaratIrrigation
5Kothagudem ProjectSingareni CoalfieldsAndhra PradeshThermal power
6Kosi ProjectRiver KosiBiharFlood Control, Irrigation, Hydroelectricity
7Gandak ProjectRiver GandakUttar Pradesh. BiharIrrigation, Hydroetectricity
8Dhuvaran Power StationKheda DistrictGujaratThermal Power
9Sabarigiri (Pamba Kakki) ProjectRiver Pamba-KakkiKeralaHydroelectricity
10Idukki ProjectRivers Periyar, Cheruthoni, IdukkiKeralaHydroelectricity
11Chambal ProjectRiver ChambalRajasthan, Madhya PradeshIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
12Tawa ProjectRiver Tawa (Narmada)Madhya PradeshIrrigation
13Korba ProjectNear Korba CoalfieldsChhattisgarhThermal Power
14Satpura Power StationPatharkada CoalfieldsMadhya PradeshThermal Power
15Koyna ProjectRiver KoynaMaharashtraHydroelectricity
16Nagpur Power StationKoradi, near Nagpur cityMaharashtraThermal Power
17Tungabhadra Multi-purpose ProjectRiver TungabhadraKarnataka, Andhra PradeshIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
18Upper Krishna ProjectRiver KrishnaKarnatakaIrrigation
19Sharavathi ProjectRiver Sharavathi, Near Jog FallsKarnatakaHydroelectricity
20Hirakund multi-purpose ProjectRiver MahanadiOdishaIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
21Mahanadi Delta ProjectRiver MahanadiOdishaIrrigation
22Bhakra Nangal Multi-purpose ProjectRiver SutlejHimachal Pradesh, Punjab. HaryanaIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
23Rajasthan Canal ProjectRiver Sutlej in PunjabRajasthan, Headworks in PunjabIrrigation
24Kundah ProjectRiver KundahTamil NaduHydroelectricity
25Ramganga Multipurpose ProjectChuisot Stream near KalagarhUttarakhandIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
26Matatila Multipurpose ProjectRiver BetwaUttar Pradesh. Madhya PradeshIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
27Rihand SchemeRiver RihandUttar PradeshHydroelectricity
28Damodar Valley ProjectRiver DamodarJharkhand, Shared with West BengalFlood Control, Irrigation, Hydroelectricity
29Ukai ProjectRiver TapiGujaratIrrigation
30Mahi ProjectRiver MahiGujaratIrrigation
31Ghataprabha ProjectRiver GhataprabhaAndhra Pradesh and KarnatakaIrrigation
32Bhima ProjectRiver BhimaMaharashtraIrrigation
33Sardar Sarovar ProjectRiver NarmadaGujarat and Madhya PradeshIrrigation and Hydroelectricity
34Bansagar ProjectRiver SonMadhya Pradesh, ChhattisgarhIrrigation
35Dul Hasti ProjectRiver ChenabJammu and KashmirHydroelectricity
36Salal ProjectRiver ChenabJammu and KashmirHydroelectricity
37Their Dam ProjectRiver RaviPunjabIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
38Malaprabha ProjectRiver MalaprabhaKarnatakaIrrigation
39Jayakwadi ProjectRiver GodavariMaharashtraIrrigation
40Beas ProjectRiver BeasPunjab and HaryanaHydroelectricity
41Sharda SahayakRiver GhaghraUttar PradeshIrrigation
42Mayurakshi ProjectRiver MayurkhsiWest BengalIrrigation, Hydroelectricity
43Rana Pratap Sagar projectRiver ChambalRajasthanHydroelectricity
44Mettur ProjectRiver CauveryTamil NaduHydroelectricity
45Pallivasal ProjectRiver Munnar AbujaKeralaHydroelectricity
46Papanasam ProjectRiver ThamirabaraniTamil NaduHydroelectricity
47Loktak ProjectLake LoktakManipurHydroelectricity
48Tehri ProjectRiver Bhagirathi (Ganga)UttarakhandHydroelectricity
49Farakka ProjectGangaWest BengalIrrigation
50Daman GangaRiver Daman GangaGujaratIrrigation and River Link
51Gima ProjectRiver Gima (Tributary of Tapi)MaharashtraIrrigation and River Link
52Pamba ProjectRiver PambaKeralaRiver Conservation and Irrigation
53Tapovan-VishnugarhRiver AlaknandaUttarakhandHydroelectricity
54OmkareshwarRiver NarmadaMadhya PradeshHydropower and Irrigation

Rivers and Disputing States

River Disputing States
KrishnaMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
GodavariMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka
CauveryKerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry
NarmadaRajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Mahadayi/mandoviGoa and Karnataka
VansadharaAndhra Pradesh and Odisha
Ravi and BeasPunjab and Haryana
MullaperiyarKerala and Tamil Nadu

Important Falls in India

Water Fall Height in Meters River Location
Kunchikal falls455VarahiKarnataka
Langshiang falls337KynshiMeghalaya
Nohkalikai falls335Meghalaya
Dudhzagar falls310MandoviGoa
Kynoem falls305Meghalaya
Meenmutty falls300KarimpuzhaKerala
Thalaiyar falls297MajjalarTamil Nadu
Barkana falls259SitaKarnataka
Barchipani falls399BudhabalangaOrissa

Lakes of India

Wular Lake Jammu & KashmirBhim Tal Uttarakhand
Lonar MaharashtraSambhar Rajasthan
Kolleru Andhra PradeshSukhna Chandigarh
Loktak ManipurParashuram Kund Arunachal Pradesh
Dal Lake Jammu & KashmirPongong Tso Jammu & Kashmir
Naini Tal UttarakhandTso Morari Jammu & Kashmir
Salt Lake KolkataNakki Lake Rajasthan
Chilka OdishaPushkar Lake Rajasthan
Pulicut Andhra PradeshUdaipur Lake Rajasthan
Vembanad Kayal KeralaUpper & Lower Lake Bhopal, MP
Ashtamudi KeralaNizam Sagar Hyderabad

Main Rivers and their Tributaries

Rivers Left Bank Tributaries Right Bank Tributaries
IndusZaskar, Panjnad, NubraShyok, Gilgit, Kabul
MahanadiIb, Mand, Hasdo, SheonathOng, Jonk, Tel
GodavariPenganga, Wardha, Wainganga, indravati and SabariManjira
KrishnaBhima, Doni, Musi, MuneruMalprabha, Ghatprabha, Tungabhadra
CauveryHerangi, Hemavati, Lokpavani, Srimsha and ArkavatiLaksmantirtha, Kabani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani and Amaravati
NarmadaBurhner, Banjar, Sher, Shakkar, Towa and KundiHiran, Barna, Kolar
TapiSipra, Kapra, Khursi, Mona, Girna, Bori, AmaravatiPurna, Betul, Patki, Suki, More, Arunavati, Gomai
GangaGomati, Ghanghara, Gandak, Burhi Gandak and KosiYamuna, Son, Punpun
YamunaTonsChambal, Sind, Betwa, ken

Difference between the Himalayan & the Peninsular River

S. No. Aspects Himalayan River Peninsular River
1Place of OriginHimalayan Mountain covered with glaciersPeninsular Plateau & Central highland
3Type of DrainageAntecedent & consequent leading to dendritic pattern in plainsSuper imposed, rejuvenated resulting in trellis, radial & rectangular patterns
4BasinsVery large basinsRelatively smaller basin
5Depth & ValleysRivers form deep vallays & gorges in their source areasRiver valleys are often shallow
6Flow of waterCause much erosion & have great flow of waterCreate much less erosion & also have weaken flow of water.
7IrrigationIrrigate the northern plainsIrrigate the Deccan Plateau.
8StageYoung & activeOld rivers with graded profile.

Longest Rivers Flowing in India

River Length (km) River Length (km)
Ganga 2510 Godavari 1465 Sutlej 1440Krishna 1400 Yamuna 1376 Narmada 1289


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