Polavaram Project - It is a national multi-purpose irrigation project across the Godavari River in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh along with its reservoirs spreading across Odisha and Chhattisgarh. This project was developed for the purpose of irrigation, drinking water and hydropower to the affected regions of Andhra Pradesh. The affected regions are East Godavari district, Vishakhapatnam, West Godavari district and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Why it is in the news?

Recently Polavaram Project won the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for the speedy execution of the multipurpose Polavaram project on the Godavari River. Also, it is in news due to issues like floods in adjoining states of the project.

Background of the Project:

For the first time in July 1941, proposals for the project came from the Madras Presidency. Later on, the then chief engineer of the irrigation department made the survey for the site and made a proposal for a reservoir in Polavaram. He vision about two crop seasons cultivation along with hydroelectricity plant within this project. Earlier it was named as “RAMAPADA SAGAR PROJECT” as the water of the reservoir would touch the Lord Rama Temple of Bhadrachalam. In 1970, it was also backed by then irrigation minister as a part of the National Water Grid. Polavaram project was also recommended by the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal after which Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh signed an agreement for the project construction. Though the project was signed in the 1980s itself the implementation on the project resumed in the year 2004. Later on, the project receives national status in 2014 when Andhra Pradesh get bifurcated, hence it is monitored and implemented by the Central Water Commission.

Advantages/benefits of the project:

  • The project would help in transferring the surplus water of the Godavari river basin to the Krishna river basin.

  • The project would also help industries through water supply like it helps Vizag Steel Plant and Vishakhapatnam city.

  • It would facilitate drinking water facility to the villages helping lots of people of the area.

  • Sterile land becomes fertile which would help farmers economic conditions also.

  • During the monsoon season there is rich water availability in the coastal districts like East Godavari, the irrigation department releases water to the first crop season only while during the second crop season farmers do not have access to the water, this project would help the farmers as there would be no question of water scarcity for both the crops season.

  • Hydroelectricity plants would get sufficient water facility for the electricity production up to 1000MW. Even the villages of the region would get 24 hours access to electricity.

  • Problems of floods and the sinking of the villages would be solved by the implementation of the project.

Disadvantages of the project:

  • Severe implications on socio-economic life- Many villages will be displaced from their places which would affect the livelihood of the people of the region. Providing shelters and rehabilitation of the affected would be a difficult task for the government.

  • The project disposes of many archaeological sites, coal deposits, wildlife sanctuaries, and forests disturbing cultural diversity and ecological biodiversity.

  • The project will affect the biodiversity of the Godavari river basin adversely like it would affect inland fishing which is the main source of income of the area people.

  • There are also arguments that the Godavari river basin does not have surplus water according to the growing demand of the water for the purpose of irrigation, domestic use, and industries.

  • Due to Climate change and increasing pollution of the water bodies across the river basin may face water scarcity or stress in the coming years.

  • There are lots of opposition from the adjoining states, Odisha and Chhattisgarh petitioned in the Supreme Court against the project. They argued that due to the construction of the project the states would get flood problems in their area. The states also alleged that public hearings in the regions have not been conducted and the construction has started without the approval of the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

  • Cost of the project is too heavy.


The Polavaram project helps the state to make it flood free and drought-free simultaneously. It has been a heavenly project for the people living in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Also, the concerns of other states can be resolved by taking effecting measures to troubleshoot the problems of the area. The issues of rehabilitation can be resolved by taking or ensuring measures for the resettlement of the people. The Polavaram project helps or benefits all the districts of the Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, biodiversity protection concerns can be ensured by taking effective measures. Hence the project has innumerous advantages over disadvantages and once the project gets completed the results of it would be great.