The Gujarat Government has recently awarded the contract for a barrage project to a joint venture of two private companies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 laid the foundation stone of the project.
What is the Bhadbhut Project?
- It is planned to be a 1.7-km causeway-cum-weir barrage with 90 gates, across the river Narmada, 5 km from Bhadbhut village, and 25 km from the mouth of the river, where it flows into the Gulf of Khambhat.
- The barrage will stop most of the excess water flowing out of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from reaching the sea and thus create a “sweet water lake” of 600 mcm (million cubic metres) on the river.
- The barrage will also have a six-lane road that will connect the left and right banks of the river and provide shorten the land distance between two large industrial estates in Surat and Bharuch.
- The project also aims to prevent flooding in years when rainfall is higher than normal. Embankments 22 km long will be made and will extend upstream towards Bharuch, from either side of the river.
Need of the project
- The main purpose of the project is to prevent salinity ingress. Due to the reduced flow of fresh water, saline seawater gushes into the Narmada estuary during high tide, thus increasing salinity along the banks.
- The sweet water from the reservoir will aim to meet the residential and industrial water requirements of Bharuch, Ankleshwar and Dahej.
- The project is part of the larger Kalpasar Project, which entails construction of a 30-km dam across the Gulf of Khambhat between Bharuch and Bhavnagar districts. The reservoir is meant to tap the waters of the Narmada, Mahisagar and Sabarmati.
- The barrage is expected to interfere with the migration and breeding cycle of hilsa. A marine fish, hilsa migrate upstream and arrives in the brackish water of the Narmada estuary near Bharuch for spawning usually during the monsoon months of July and August, and continue doing so till November. Once the barrage is built, it is expected to block their natural entry.