Hydroelectricity is often used in union with dams. It is to produce electricity. A dam may also be used for the storage and collection of water and to distribute the same evenly wherever needed. The dams of the state of Himachal Pradesh are built with sole purpose of reigning in the floods and to generate electricity. The important dams of the state of Himachal Pradesh are namely the Bhakra Dam, the Pandoh Dam, Nathpa Dam, Chamera Dam, Gobind Sagar Reservoir and the Maharana Pratap Sagar Reservoir.
The Bhakra Dam
The Bhakra Dam is the most important dam of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Bhakra Dam is a concrete gravity dam across the Sutlej River and is near the border between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It is a joint venture of the Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan states designed to harness the precious water of the Satluj for the benefit of the concerned states.
The Bhakra Dam is one of the highest straight gravity dams in the world. It has been constructed on the Satluj at the site of Bhakra gorge near Rupnagar (Ropar). The dam is 226 metre high and 518 metres long with its maximum width at the base as 362 metres.
The dam has created a huge reservoir of water which is 88 km long and 8 km wide with a storage capacity of 986.8 crore cubic metres. This reservoir is named as Gobindsagar Lake after Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of the Sikh community.
The Nangal Dam has been constructed at Nangal about 13 km downstream of the Bhakra dam. This 29 metre high, 305 metre long and 121 metre wide is an auxiliary dam which serves as a balancing reservoir for taking up daily fluctuations from the Bhakra Dam.
The main Bhakra Canal is 174 km long. The length of the canal system and that of the distributaries is 1,104 km and 3,360 km respectively. This canal system commands a gross area of about 27 lakh hectares and provides irrigation to about 15 lakh hectares. Of this 37.7 per cent is in Punjab, 46.7 per cent in Haryana and the remaining 15.6 per cent is in Rajasthan.
History of Bhakra Nangal
The former Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru, was the main source of inspiration behind the construction of the Bhakra Nangal Dam. He was supported and supervised by an American Slocum Harvey in his work. Pandit Nehru described the project of Bhakra Nangal as : “Bhakra Nangal project, is something tremendous, something stupendous, something shakes you up when you see it. Bhakra the new temple of the resurgent India, is the symbol of India’s progress.” The Dam was dedicated by him for the welfare of the whole nation. The material used to construct this Dam can lay a road of of 8 feet wide across the circumference of earth. The project of Bhakra Dam was completed at the cost of about Rs 245 crores.
“Bhakra Nangal Project is something tremendous, something stupendous, something which shakes you see it. Bhakra today is the symbol of India’s progress.” -Nehru