Study on Kerwa Dam

— by Pranjal K, July 24 2021 —


Kerwa dam is a major geographical landmark in the Bhopal district of Madhya Pradesh, located merely 15 km away from the capital city. It is a popular ecotourism destination for locals for short holidays and weekend picnics. Surrounded by wilderness, It witnesses large visitor footfalls due to its natural beauty and its proximity to the city.

The reservoir cum dam was constructed on the Kerwa river to cater to water requirements for Bhopal, especially for dry summers. It was strategically planned with the purpose of maintaining a notable ecotourism site in central India [1]. Hence environmental management was part of the primary goals of the project, and one witnesses neutral verdure of forests surrounding the reservoir. A nominal fee is charged to visitors by the Kerwa Ecotourism Development Society for maintenance and promotion of its tourism, besides its basic purpose of facilitating hydroelectricity generation and irrigation [1]. The Kerwa dam project has significantly resolved the issue of water crisis in the nearby districts, tapping its huge dead storage potential. The water from the reservoir is supplied to around 35 villages for daily use activities [2]. The study aims to assess the quality of water in the reservoir to evolve policies that are best suitable for its preservation and health.

Physicochemical Properties

S. no.ParameterValue
1.Catchment area34.50 sqkm
2.Gross storage capacity25 M cum
4.Temperature29°C – 32°C
5.Conductivity222 micromhos/cm
6.Turbidity2.5 NTU
7.TDS170 mg/l
8.Alkalinity140 mg/l
9.Chloride22 mg/l
10.Total hardness144 mg/l
11.Ca hardness60 – 100 mg/l
12.Mg hardness58 – 70 mg/l
13.Sulphate6.4 – 12 mg/l
14.Fluoride0.20 – 0.22 mg/l
15.Nitrate30 mg/l
16.COD20 – 30 mg/l
17.BOD4 mg/l
Source: [2], [3]

Present Condition

Anthropogenic activities like urbanization, intensive agriculture with overuse of fertilizers, inadequate land use planning and management and improper sewage disposal have directly or indirectly affected most of the water bodies that we are dependent on for sustaining our lives.

Fortunately because of limited human involvement due to ecotourism planning and remote location, the pollution level of the Kerwa dam is observed to be largely under control. Most of the parameters of physicochemical studies are observed to be under WHO and BIS permissible limits. But there is still a threat of pollution, indicated by the presence of organic matter (reflected by COD levels) [2]. The main source of this pollution was traced to be the human settlements and anthropogenic activities around the dam. The water requires treatment for drinking purposes but is perfectly suitable for irrigation.

The data on physicochemical properties is outdated since there has been intense urbanization in the city of Bhopal and rural development in the fringes. There is not yet an alarming threat to the health of the reservoir, but urbanization and proliferation of human activities around the lake along with the dependence of urban areas on the reservoir for quality water makes it critical for conservation.preservation plans.

Topographical map, source:
Developments around the reservoir

Possible Solutions

Improving the quality of water of the reservoir and maintenance of its sensitive ecological balance requires continuous monitoring. The presence of organic matter in the water is suggestive of possible addition of untreated wastewater. Developments around the north of the reservoir need to be checked and sewage systems must be established for the expanding urban settlements. Ecotourism planning too should be carried out with expertise of environmental planners, with a larger focus on conservation. Public activities around the reservoir and river should be closely monitored to prevent solid waste pollution. Commercial activities need proper planning with a check on waste water networks in the fringe areas.The dam is also notoriously famous for drowning cases, given its depth. The large portions surrounded by forests also make monitoring of civilians difficult. There is a dire need for public safety measures around the lake. As the city of Bhopal expands towards its southern ends, it is critical to understand the significance of the Kerwa reservoir and make strategic plans for urbanization such that it causes minimum damage to the reservoir and its feeder Kerwa river.


[1] Madhya Pradesh Kerwa Dam

[2] Gupta P, Vishwakarma M, Rawtani P  Assessment of water quality parameters of Kerwa Dam for drinking suitability International Journal of Theoretical & Applied Sciences, 1(2)

[3] Choudhary R, Rawtani P, Vishwakarma M Comparative study of Drinking Water Quality Parameters of three Manmade Reservoirs i.e. Kolar, Kaliasote and Kerwa   Dam Current World Environment Vol 6(1)

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