Mettur Dam, Tamil Nadu | Dams In India

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Mettur Dam

The Mettur Dam is one of the biggest reservoirs in India and the highest in Tamil Nadu, situated across the Cauvery River where it enters the plains. The dam’s maximums height and width are 214 feet and 171 feet each, built-in 1934, it took 9 years to complete. There is a park at the base of a dam named Ellis Park, which is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department. In more than 12 Tamilnadu Districts it offers irrigations and drinking water and is therefore known as Tamil Nadu’s life and livelihood.

Mettur, Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India
11°48′00″N 77°48′00″E
Opening date
Dam and spillways
214 feet (65 m)
1,700 metres (5,600 ft)
Stanley Reservoir
Capacity:-  93.4 billion ft³ (2.64 km³) 2,146,071 acre-ft


As per the 2011 India census, the Mettur Town population is 36926. Males make up 57% and females 43% of the population and 11% of the people in Mettur are under the age of 6 years.



The United Kingdom provided funds for the dam and evacuated the people from the Nayambadi village where the dam was sited. Even now, ancient Hindu temples appear as evidence when the volume of the dam falls. Those people who migrated from Nayambadi have settled down in Martelli and other nearby villages in the Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka.



The total length of the barracks is 1,700 feet. Mettur Hydro Electrical is also a very large project. Mettur is a tourist attraction due to its reservoir, lake, big hydropower plants and the slopes on all sides. Hogenakkal Falls is upstream from the dam. The dam’s maximum height is 120 ft (37 m) and its maximum capacity is 93.47 tmc ft. Area of the reservoir is 42.5 square/km.

Its capacity of 93.4 billion cubic feet (2.64 km3) is nearly twice that of its Karnataka counterpart of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam; It was built in-line with Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, which was designed by Sir M Vishveswariah in 1911 and completed in 1917 near Mysore.


Water dispute

Since the latter part of the 20th century and especially in the mid-1990s, the Mettur Dam has attracted public attention as a consequence of the water dispute between the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka States. Because of subsequent dams constructed across the Cauvery and its tributaries in Karnataka, namely Harangi Dam, Hemavathi Dam, Kabini Dam, following the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam; Mettur Dam does not receive much water during lean seasons.

As a consequence, the reservoir is almost empty during certain times of the year, often when the farmers and the general public of Tamil Nadu require most irrigation. This has caused serious conflict and tension between the neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Governments of the respective states, the Supreme Court, and the Cauvery Tribunal have so far not been successful in resolving the dispute.  

In the years of deficit in realization, the dispute aggravates in both the states. The main reasons why the deficit occurs is that Southwest monsoon is inadequately implemented in the main catchment areas of the river, i.e. Kodagu and Wayanad and water supply to irrigation and drinking water systems in both states.


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