Tunga Bhadra Dam is situated in the state of Karnataka in India. The Tungabhadra project is a joint venture of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The dam is 2441 metres in length and 49.38 metres in height. It is located across the River Tungabhadra at Mullapuram in the district of Bellary, at a distance of about 4.8 kilometers from Hospet. The Tunga Bhadra Dam is one of the biggest multipurpose dams of Karnataka state. The project also consists of three main canals, one on the left bank side and another on the right bank side. They are called the Left Bank Canal, the Low Level Canal and the High Level Canal.
The Tungabhadra River
, over which this dam is constructed, is the tributary of Krishna River
. Its storage capacity is 135 Tmcft. Due to siltation, the capacity of this dam is decreased to 30 Tmcft. In case of late and seasonal rains, 235 Tmcft water reserved in the dam is distributed. The Tunga Bhadra Dam is completely filled water enters the canals during the rainy season. Tunga Bhadra Dam`s chief architect was Dr. Thirumalai Iyengar, a Chennai
(Madras) engineer. Since the dam was built as per his plans, a general purpose hall at this place was made in his honour. The site of this dam has also become a picnic or tourist destination over the years. This place is also visited for the reason that it is close to the world-renowned heritage site of Hampi.
Of the three canals included in the Tungabhadra project, the Left Bank Canal is 225 kilometers in length with a capacity of 7000 cusecs cubic feet per second. It has the potential to provide irrigation to about 3 lakh hectares of land in the Raichur and Bellary district
in the state of Karnataka
and Kurnool, Cuddapah and Anantpur district
in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Low Level Canal is 349 kilometers in length. Originating from the right flank of the Tungabhadra River, this canal runs through the states of Andhra Pradesh. This project has irrigation potential for a total of about 97,566 hectares of land in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The Power Canal on the Right Bank side sustains the power house at Hampi
. The High Level Canal has a total length of 196 kilometers. Its capacity is 4999 cusecs at the head. This canal provides irrigational facilities to about 80900 hectares of land in Karnataka and 101900 hectares of land in Andhra Pradesh.
Apart from these the Tungabhadra project has two powerhouses with a cumulative installed capacity of 72 MW. The power generated is shared between the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Moreover, NCL Energy Ltd, a Hyderabad
-based company, has been selected to set up a mini hydel project of 8.25 mw on the Right Bank High Level Canal (RBHLC). The project cost is likely to Rs 22.20 crores. The basin of the High Level Canal close to the Tunga Bhadra dam has been selected as the future location of the powerhouse and the powerhouse is anticipated to have three units each with a capacity of 2,750 KV. The plant is expected to produce a gross energy of 30 million KW hours per annum. The project will be exploiting the water released from the Tungabhadra dam reservoir into the RBHLC to generate power. The energy generated at the project will be supplied to the two states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The current functions involving the Tungabhadra project include the regulation of supplies of water to the States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and regulation of power from the two powerhouses on the right side in accordance with such rules as may be made in this behalf by the Board. The project also looks after the maintenance of the Tunga Bhadra dam and reservoir, common to both the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, which includes undertaking safety measures for the spillway and dams. Maintenance of the common portion of the Right Bank High Level Canal and Low Level Canal including common distributaries of Right Bank Low Level Canal and any other works common to both the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka is also one of the functions of the Tungabhadra project. The project facilitates fisheries in the reservoir and in the main canal and it also looks into the proper utilization of land acquired under the project. The Tungabhadra project also looks for new schemes for the generation of hydro electric power.
There is a small lighthouse, situated at the apex of the mount, beside the Tungabhadra dam. One of the most suitable places to have a bewitching view of the surrounding is this light house. There is also a very delicately designed garden by the Karnataka Government where one can spend some leisure hours. With the onset of monsoon, i.e. from May to June, the gates of the dam are shut down in order to store water. August is the best time to visit the Tungabhadra dam. On the 15th of August, all the gates of this dam are opened. Those dams are called multipurpose dams which serve different purposes like hydro electric power generation, prevention and control of floods, irrigation of land, providing drinking water, etc and the Tunga Bhadra dam is one of the multipurpose dams in the state of Karnataka.