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Godavari River Facts: This Is What You Need To Know

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The Godavari river is sometimes referred to as Dakshin Ganga (South Ganges river). However, unlike the Ganges, the Godavari is not a perennial river. It is fed only through rainfall.

While it is the second longest river in India after the river Ganges, the flow of the river swells and shrinks seasonally. During the Southwest monsoon (mid-June to mid-October) is when it gets 84% of its annual rainfall on an average. Whereas Jan to May is dry season with very little rainfall.

Tributaries of Godavari make up 75% of the river’s catchment area and are crucial in extending the river flow beyond monsoon season. In addition to the monsoons over the Indian peninsula, depressions in the Bay of Bengal cause cyclonic storms which predominantly pass through the sub-basins of tributaries and enhance its water feed.

godavari river facts
godavari river facts – Godavari River by ILP-Manmohan Jain

Nashik: The Source of Godavari River

The monsoon currents coming from South-West, meet the Western Ghats of Sahyadri Range deposit most of their moisture on the windward side and then sweep across the interior of the peninsula on their Easterly course.

Brahmagiri hill, Nashik, Source of Godavari river
Brahmagiri hill, Nashik, Source of Godavari river – by Prashanth A tripadvisor.com

Due to the proximity to Arabian Sea (less than 50 miles), the drainage on western side of this mountain range ends up in the Arabian Sea before growing into a major river. Though conditions in the interior are somewhat unfavorable for heavy precipitation, tributaries help the Godavari river to stretch East for 1,465 kilometers (910 miles) draining through 8 Indian states and eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Brahmagiri hill, Nashik, in the background. Source of Godavari river
Brahmagiri hill, Nashik, in the background. Source of Godavari river – by Ranjeet K, tripadvisor.com

In Hinduism rivers are considered sacred. The source of a river and its confluence points [sangam] also have great significance. Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas that are considered to be very auspicious and holy.

Antarvedi Beach: Confluence with Sea

Antarvedi Beach Confluence of godavari river with Sea
Antarvedi Beach Confluence of godavari river with Sea – Rajib Ghosh ,via Wikimedia Commons

In the lower course, the river has a high volume and a large discharge. The river channel is also deep and wide. However, as landscape around the terminus Antarvedi is flat & Elevation is low, deposition takes place & river channel widens creating a floodplain.

A floodplain is an area around a river that is covered in times of flood. Floodplains are very fertile area due to the rich alluvium deposited by floodwaters.

Godavari Delta

the godavari delta, Dawn at Narsapur
the godavari delta, Dawn at Narsapur –
Kkin2k],via Wikimedia Commons

Usually, Deltas are found at the mouth of large rivers. A delta is formed when the river deposits its material faster than the sea can remove it. Godavari Delta is also called as Konaseema. The delta of Godavari river consists of a wide belt of river-borne alluvium formed by deposits at the mouth of the river over the years. The process of silting at the mouth of the river is still continuing, and the delta is gradually extending into the sea.

Shifting sand banks – During a flood or cyclone the river over flows the sand banks and after the flood when water recedes, this channel could widen, discharging more water while older channels dry up. Lack of vegetation show river’s old path & floodplain.

Notice the sand deposition on the inner side of the bend, where water flow is slower compared to the outer bend due to centrifugal force.Sandbanks also help with preventing erosion during the normal flow of the river. Fertile delta with plenty of water is perfect to grow highly water-dependent crops like Rice, Sugar Cane & coconut.

Gangapur Dam

sunset at gangapur dam godavari river
sunset at gangapur dam godavari river – by Pratik M, tripadvisor.com

Earthen dams also known as earth fill dams are much cheaper to build than other kinds of dams. They use materials found on-site or near to the site. The Gangapur Dam is one such example. It is an earthfill dam that was built in 1865 with the primary purpose of irrigation. The gross storage capacity is 215,880 cubic kilometers. Over a period of time, the storage capacity of the dam has slowly come down. This is because of the silt deposition in the reservoir area.

However, the advantage is that silt deposited in the reservoir is fertile and can be used in agriculture. Thus in a win-win situation, the desilting of Gangapur dam helps improve the storage capacity, and the farmers can use the excavated soil to replenish their fields.

Jayakwadi Dam

jayakwadi dam, godavari river
jayakwadi dam, godavari river – Nath Sagar Project, by Adiya Patil, google map

The main purpose of Jayakwadi dam is to irrigate land for agriculture in the drought-prone Marathwada region of Maharashtra state. 80% of water dam is meant for irrigation, 5-7% for drinking water and the rest for industrial purposes.The reservoir of Jayakwadi dam is called Nath Sagar.

The Nath Sagar reservoir creates many islands of various sizes. There are nearly 30 islands in its shallow waters. The reservoir islands have plenty of trees for roosting of birds, thereby providing migratory birds an ideal shelter. A bird sanctuary has been created very to the dam providing a home for many species of birds, both resident and migrant. . In this region alone one can find nearly 200 species of birds.

The location of the dam was not a natural point due to which the catchment area spread unnecessarily causing many people to shift from their native villages and disrupted their well-settled lives.

Sriram Sagar Dam

Sriram Sagar dam, godavari river
Sriram Sagar dam, godavari river – by Gankidi Vinay Reddy, google map

Sriram Sagar dam serves for irrigation purposes & also generates electricity. This flood-flow project on the Godavari River, Provides irrigation to 1.64million acres.

The flood canal could be used only if the water level is above certain level.The flood canal is not in use in most of the years as the water inflows into the Sriram Sagar reservoir is not adequate to build up the level.

Dowleswaram Barrage

Dowleswaram Barrage at godavari river
Dowleswaram Barrage at godavari river by Hariya, via Wikimedia Commons

Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton built the Dowleswaram Barrage. He dedicated his life to building navigation and irrigation canals throughout what was then British India. Built on the lower course of the Godavari River, the Dowleswaram Barrage is primarily an irrigation structure. It was built in the year 1850.

As it is in the lower stretch, the river spreads wide and shallow in this part. Moreover, the surrounding terrain has a low terrain, wherein the barrage was made only 4.6 meters (15 feet) in height.

The reservoir level of the barrage when it’s full is 14 meters ( 45.7 feet). While the height is only 4.6 meters, the barrage stretches over 3.5 kilometers (2.175 miles) and has 175 crest gates that control the discharge of water and the reservoir level.

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