Enhancing dam safety and water management in India

Published: 10 April 2018

The water reservoirs in India are of vital importance. They provide water for irrigation of the land, are used to generate electricity and offer protection against flooding. But often the dams are aging, or are also facing different circumstances than when designed, due to changes in land use, socio-economic developments and climate change. The goal of DAMSAFE, a consortium by Deltares (leader), Royal Eijkelkamp, SkyGeo and iPresas, is to contribute to enhancing dam safety and water managment in India.

Bhadra masonry dam and reservoir

236 large dams and reservoirs

KaWRD, one of the major departments in the Government of Karnataka, is responsible for management of 236 large dams and reservoirs. Royal Eijkelkamp and SkyGeo provide specialist (measurement) technologies. Deltares integrates the measurement data into information using the Delft-FEWS platform and numerical modeling. One of the focus points is the Bhadra dam-reservoir system. The Bhadra dam is located across Bhadra River in the Chikkamagalore Districtof Karnataka State at an elevation of 601 m above Mean Sea Level. This is a multi-purpose dam, including irrigation, water supply and hydropower generation.


The consortium partners and the Karnataka Water Resources Department (KaWRD),  joined at Deltares recenlty for a workshop. The current state of the project was presented and compared with the information needs and situation in Karnataka. Flood risk management and safe release of water from the reservoir appear of paramount importance to the well being of the  population living downstream. Another challenge is that 44 dams in Karnataka are more than a hundred years old. The project will contribute to that by monitoring of dam stability development and forecasting of failure risk.

Mr. Siddaraj, and Mr. Puneeth,  Assistant Engineers at the Advanced Centre of Integrated Water Resources Management (ACIWRM), and Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL),  Government of Karnataka commented: “We have stayed now seven weeks at Deltares, learning approaches and tools that will be beneficial to Dam Safety and Water Management in Karnataka. We enjoyed working with the colleagues at Deltares”.


The project will be completed by the end of this year and will deliver the following:

  • Online monitoring system of dam and reservoir including Delft-FEWS software to forecast reservoir inflow and water levels, thus increasing reservoir performance.
  • Satellite measurements and risk-informed safety assessment for monitoring of the dam condition, resulting in optimization of operation and maintenance.
  • Online monitoring of the dam and FEWS-DAM software for rapid assessment of dam stability in order to provide information for emergency response.