Tehri Dam “The highest dam in India”
Tehri dam is a 260.5 metres (855 feet) high rock and earth-fill hill dam. This mammoth dam measures 575 metres (1,886 feet) in length, 20 metres (66 feet) crest width and 1,128 metres (3,701 feet) as its base. It is built over Bhagirathi river near Tehri Garhwal and is the highest dam in India.
The dam was built by THDC India Ltd. and has an installed hydro capacity of 1,000 MW, along with an additional 1,000 MW of pump storage hydroelectricity. The Tehri Dam and Tehri Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant are also a part of the Tehri Dam Hydro Power Complex, which includes the 400 MW, Koteshwar Dam.
Tehri dam has a reservoir of 2.6 cubic km (2, 100, 000 acre feet) with a surface area of 52 square km (20 sq. metres). The reservoir is famously known as Tehri Lake which is flocked by thousands of tourists each year. This emerald lake has now become a hub for adventure tourism in Uttarakhand.
Pros and Cons of Tehri Dam:
Advantages of constructing Tehri Dam:
- The dam produces 2,400 Megawatts of electricity.
- It offers fresh drinking water to almost 40 lakh people living in Delhi and 30 lakh people living in and around Uttar Pradesh.
- Has generated employment for the locals.
- 12% of the total electricity generated is royalty for Uttarakhand.
- The dam has caused less flooding in the low-lying areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- Increase in the Tourism sector, Fish Irrigation Projects and other government projects in Uttarakhand.
- The Central Government receives Rs. 2,400 crores profit every year.
- Offers Land irrigation water to almost 2,70,000 hectares to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.
Disadvantages or Issues regarding Tehri Dam:
The Tehri Dam project raised environmental concerns by constructing a large dam in the delicate ecosystem of the Himalayan foothills. Since the dam is located at the Central Himalayan Seismic Gap, a major geologic fault zone. Therefore, the stability of the dam has always been a growing concern for the people. In October 1991, the region recorded an earthquake of 6.8 magnitudes with an epicentre of 5 km from the location of the dam.
Many environmentalists argued that building a dam would put excess pressure on the seismic gap and will increase the chances of an earthquake. The dam is designed to withstand an earthquake of 8.4 magnitudes but some seismologists believe that an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5 or more could occur in this region. Which could break the dam causing the water to flood numerous towns and villages.
Tehri Dam Stats:
District: New Tehri
Type of Dam: : Embankment, earth and rock-fill
Coordinates: 30°22′40″N 78°28′50″E
Impounds Bhagirathi River
Height: 260. 5 m (855 feet)
Length: 575 metres (1,886 feet)
Width (crest): 20 metres (66 feet)
Width (base): 1,128 metres (3,701 feet)
Number of Spillways: 02
Spillway Type: Gate Controlled
Spillway Capacity: 15,540 m3/s (549,000 cu ft/s)
Total Capacity of Reservoir: 4.0 km3 (3,200,000 acre feet)
Surface Area of Reservoir: 52 km2 (20 sq mi)
Tehri Dam Protest:
The environmental issues were first pointed by Mr V.D Saklani, lawyer and founder of the Anti-Tehri Dam Struggle Committee. He made the locals aware of the consequences associated with the construction of Tehri Dam. Environmentalist and activist Sunderlal Bahuguna led the Anti-Tehri Dam movement from the 1980s to 2004.
He protested against the displacement of town inhabitants and the issues related to the weak ecosystem. A protest message use by Sunderlal Bahuguna read, “We don’t want dams. The dam is the mountain’s destruction”. However, relocating more than 1,00,000 people from the area delayed the legal battles over resettlement rights. Thereby, causing the date of project completion to exceed.
History of Tehri Dam:
The Tehri Dam project was chalked out in 1961 however, the construction began in 1978 but was later postponed due to financial and social restrictions. The dam was opposed by several eminent personalities and environmentalists since it was a threat to the fragile ecosystem of Himalayas. But with the financial and technical help from USSR and after overcoming several political and ecological hurdles, Tehri dam was finally completed in 2006.
Tehri Dam and Lake as a Tourist Attraction:
Every year, many people come to New Tehri to savour the engineering marvel of Tehri Dam. In order to develop New Tehri as a tourist destination, river Bhagirathi was re-routed to fill in the dam reservoir which became the Tehri Lake.
Over the years, Tehri Lake has become a famous weekend destination for Delhi-NCR tourists. Families, office groups and newly-weds come here to unpack their burden from the maddening city life and to absorb the virgin beauty of Tehri Lake. Some of the nearby tourist attractions from Tehri Lake are Kirtinagar, Chandrabadni Temple and Ghansali. For excursions you can plan a trip to Dehradun, Rishikesh, Mussoorie and Chamba.
Adventure Activities and Water Sports at Tehri Lake:
Tehri Lake offers a multitude of adventure opportunities to the tourists ranging from water sports, land to aerial activities. One can enjoy boating, kayaking, banana boat ride, jet speedboat ride, canoeing, water surfing and bandwagon ride on the placid water of Tehri Lake. Houseboats and floating huts have also been introduced here for accommodation purposes. If you love heights then you should try paragliding which is also performed here.
Distance/ Travel Time:
18.3 km / 39 mins from Kendriya Vidyalaya, New Tehri, Uttarakhand.
Exploration Time: 3 hours
Best time to Visit:
One can visit Tehri Dam Throughout the year. The weather is moderate and pleasant here. During Summer the maximum temperature is 20°C and in winter season the minimum temperature is -10°C.
Months: March – May
Temperature: 8°C to 20°C
Months: June to Septemper
Climate : Cool & Pleasant
Months: November – February
Temperature: -10°C to 10°C
How to reach Tehri Dam:
New Tehri where the dam is located is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand. Luxury, as well as normal buses to New Tehri, are easily available from Dehradun, Mussoorie, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Devprayag, Srinagar and Uttarkashi.
Rishikesh railway station is the nearest railhead to Tehri Dam. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. The town of New Tehri is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are easily available from Rishikesh to New Tehri.
Jolly Grant airport at 91 km is the nearest air connectivity to New Tehri. The airport is well connected to metropolitan cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai. Taxis to New Tehri are easily available from Jolly Grant airport.