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Ukai Dam in Surat

The Ukai Project is Gujarat’s pride. It powers South Gujarat and in addition, it serves to protect the areas adjoining the Tapti River from floods. While the main purpose was to provide water for irrigation, the Dam and the Ukai Hydropower project has generated about 900 MU of power, annual generation reaching a peak of 1233 MU in 1977-78.

Ukai Dam

The Dam is built across the Tapti River in Fort Songadh, near Ukai village after which it is named.

Location of Ukai Dam

The dam is located about 29 Kilometers from the Kakrapar weir and has a catchment area of over 62200 sq. Kilometers, partly covering the Deccan plateau spread in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The structure of the dam is earth and masonry, stretching over a length of 4927 Meters. The ukai dam level varies between 80 and 68 meters and it has a reservoir capacity of 0.71 million ha-m. Water from the dam irrigates about 1552 square kilometers of land in the Ukai region and about 2275 sq. kilometers in the Kakrapar region.

Construction of Ukai Dam

It took over seven years to construct the dam that has about 22 radial gates with a spillway length of 425 meters. Once the dam was completed, the reservoir inundated an area of 601.3 km and it stores about 5.5 cubic kilometers of water against moving gates as opposed to the normal method of storing against a static wall. In the process a large chunk of land was saved from inundation, and resulted in cost savings besides enabling better flood control.

Water Level at Ukai Dam

Abundant rains in catchment areas have raised the Ukai dam level and the Ukai dam current water level was recorded at 343 feet, only a foot or so below its maximum level. Due to heavy monsoons the inflow of water was 74480 cuses as compared to outflow of 22026, contributing to a rise in the Ukai dam current water level. The inflow came late in the monsoon season, averting what could have been a flood situation if the authorities were forced to release excess water that would then surely have flooded Surat and adjoining areas.

Tapti or Tapi River is responsible for about 11350 MCM water flow to the Ukai dam. Gujarat provides about 3947 MCM water flow, contributing about 38% to the Ukai dam level and helping maintain Ukai dam current water levels.

Purposes Served by Ukai Dam

While irrigation was the prime purpose, power generation was also on the agenda and the Ukai dam was estimated to generate 300 MW power for 8 hours each day to power industries and homes in South Gujarat. Power generation was not given top priority since future developments were considered to have a reducing effect on power generation over the years. Despite these projections the Ukai dam hydroelectric power generation has been more than adequate. With the Ukai dam current water level nearly at the top, this year too the power generation capability should exceed its installed capacity. The peak power generated was 1233 MU while the average was 900 MU per annum.  

If Surat and the adjoining areas are flourishing agriculturally, it is in no small measure to the Ukai dam located about 94 km away. If there are no floods to ravage the city, it is due to excellent flood control at Ukai dam to manage Ukai dam level at the optimum figure. The storage capacity of the dam is 46% of the capacity of all dams in Gujarat, equal to that of the Bhakra Nangal Dam.

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