Upper Krishna Project

The Upper Krishna Project (UKP) is an irrigation project across the Krishna River to provide irrigation to the drought-prone areas of Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gulbarga, Yadgir and Raichur districts in the state of Karnataka in south India. The project had been designed by the Government of Karnataka to irrigate 1,536,000 acres of land (6,220 km²).


The foundation stone for the project was laid by the then Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on 22 May 1964. It was designed to irrigate 1,536,000 acres of land in Gulbarga, Raichur, Bijapur, Bagalkot and now Yadgir. UKP intends to use the bulk of 173 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water allocated to the state of Karnataka by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by R. S. Bachawat Tribunal, in May 1976. The initial estimation of the cost of the project was 120 crore (US$17 million);[1] however, after many revisions, the final cost of the project reached 10,371.67 crore (US$1.5 billion),[2] and it took 42 years for the project to be completed. 201 villages were affected by the project and 136 villages were completely submerged in the backwaters of the reservoirs constructed as a part of the project.[1]

UKP-Stage IEdit

Stage I of the UKP plans to use 119 tmcft of water and irrigate 4250 km² of land on the left bank of the Krishna River. It involves construction of Almatti Dam and Narayanpur Dam along with several other canals.[3]

Almatti Dam constructed as a part of the UKP project
UKP-Stage I[3]
Works Area irrigated (km²)
Narayanpur Dam and allied works Not Applicable
Almatti Dam up to 519 m FRL Not Applicable
Construction of Narayanpur Left Canal 472.23
Construction of Shapur Branch Canal 1221.2
Construction of Mudbal Branch Canal 510
Construction of Indi Branch Canal 1312.6
Construction of Jewargi Branch Canal 571
Construction of Almatti Left Bank Canal (77 km of Initial Work) 162
TOTAL 4249.03

UKP-Stage IIEdit

Stage II of the UKP plans to use 54 tmcft of water and irrigate 1971.20 km² of land. It involves irrigation on the right bank of the river by the flow and also by lifting the waters to higher levels on both left and right banks. The project mainly involved construction of channels.[3]

UKP-Stage II[3]
Works Area irrigated (km²)
Almatti Right Bank Canal 161.00
Rampur Lift Irrigation Scheme 202.35
Narayanpur Right Bank Canal up to 95 km 840.00
Indi Lift Irrigation Scheme 419.00
Mulwad Lift Irrigation Scheme 308.50
Almatti Left Bank Canal extension 47.35
TOTAL 1971.20

Hipparagi barrage

This project also includes construction of Hipparagi barrage (near 16°33′09″N 75°09′58″E / 16.55250°N 75.16611°E / 16.55250; 75.16611 ) in the upstream of Almatti dam with maximum water level and FRL at 531.4 m MSL and barrage crest level at 516.635 m MSL in Athani taluq of Belagavi district.[4] Hipparagi barrage with 4.9 tmcft live storage capacity supplies irrigation water to nearly 60,000 acres by Ainapur and Halyal lift canals.[5]

UKP-Stage IIIEdit

The Karnataka government on 3 December 2011 unveiled a five-year action plan to fully use its share of water in the Krishna River basin. Stage III of UKP would use 130 tmcft of water. The Karnataka government would be spending 17,000 crore (US$2.4 billion) to complete the third stage of the project.[6]

Stage III consists of increasing the full reservoir water level of Alamatti Dam to 524 metres (1,719 ft) and this would require the relocation of 30 villages. One lakh acres (405 km²) of land would be submerged.[6]

UKP stage III would involve lift irrigation schemes at Mulwad, Chimmalagi, and Indi and extension of the Narayanapura Right Bank Canal and Bhima diversion plan. Stage III would also involve the extension of lift irrigation schemes at Rampur, Mallabad, Koppal and Herakal.[6]

Major benefitsEdit

The major beneficiary of the project would be Gulbarga district with around 950,000 acres of land coming under irrigation.[1] A hydel power generation plant of installed capacity of 297 MW has been contemplated at Almatti, which it is estimated would generate about 672 million units annually. This work has been assigned to KPCL, a Karnataka Government company. It is expected to increase the production of food grains and cash crops in the command area of the UKP, adding 6,000 crore (US$840 million) to the country's economy annually and stimulating prosperity and growth in the otherwise drought-prone and economically backward districts of the north eastern part of Karnataka. The project is also intended to provide drinking water to 18 urban and several rural centres.[3]

Major difficultiesEdit


Delays[7] and the level of cost over-runs lead to charges of cronyism and corruption.[8][9][10] A first information report (FIR) was filed by police on 26 Oct 2011 in connection with alleged financial irregularities in awarding the contracts to the tune of 400 crore (US$56 million) in the project during 1995-1998. The FIR filed did not name anyone. Former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda after becoming the Prime Minister of India, amended the rule to release the funds for water projects of the states and released 700 cr to the state of Karnataka which not only helped Karnataka, but all states for their water projects. Even though several CM's came and went but not finished this project since 15 years. Totally dam work started 45 years back but not completed till today. Due to this Karnataka Government lost huge agricultural income and loss to ex-chequer.[11]


Lack of proper maintenance has been a recurring concern, especially after disasters such as the collapse of a main gate at the Narayanpur Dam.[12]


Human costs included the large number of displaced persons and the loss of community. Thousands of farmers lost their land due to this project, farmers land was sunk into backwater as well as dam water and became stranded. Huge i.e. more than 60sq.km land was submerged in Almatti Dam water, citizens lost their homes, homeland and farmland and society because of this project. Nearly 3000 villages sunk under dam water have now become displaced, stranded and spread out in Karnataka and surrounding states. Citizens and citizen farmers sacrificed their life, land and society.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Suresh Bhat (21 August 2006). "President to dedicate Upper Krishna Project to the nation today". The Hindu. Bijapur. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Upper Krishna Project cost revised". The Hindu. Gulbarga. 14 March 2010. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Upper Krishna Project". Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam LTD. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Hipparagi barrage details". Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Hipparagi Barrage B00592". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Rs 17,000 crore plan for utilization of River Krishna water". Daily News and Analysis. Bangalore. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  7. ^ Special correspondent (20 May 2000). "Stage I of UKP yet to be completed". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013.
  8. ^ Staff (18 October 2005). "World Bank report was not circulated among us, says Prakash". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 December 2005.
  9. ^ Staff (13 March 2006). "Crest gate work awarded sans KBJNL nod". Deccan-Herald. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
  10. ^ Staff (29 November 2010). "CID to probe into corruption during Gowda's tenure: K'tka govt". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Rs 17,000 crore plan for utilisation of River Krishna water". Bangalore. OUTLOOKINDIA. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  12. ^ Special correspondent (8 October 2005). "Breach raises questions about safety, maintenance of dam". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006.
  13. ^ Sharma, Ravi (2006). "Ground Realities: The families displaced by the Upper Krishna Project in Karnataka are unhappy at the rehabilitation centres". The Hindu Frontline. 23 (21). Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2013.