HIRAKUD RESERVIOR (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     5th October 2023        

Context: Recently, elevated levels of cancer-causing heavy metals like lead and chromium were detected in eight wetlands in Odisha, including the Hirakud reservoir.

Key Points

  • Heavy metal pollutants that commonly accumulate in wetlands as a result of human activity include lead, chromium, cadmium, copper, mercury, nickel, zinc, manganese and arsenic. 
  • The heavy metals can also enter the environment indirectly through the food chain.
  • Selected 8 wetlands: Chandaneswar, Chilika, Daringbadi, and Koraput as well as constructed ones like Bhadrak, Hirakud, Talcher, and Titlagarh.
  • The researchers  calculated the ecological risk posed by heavy metal accumulation. The ecological risk index measures the potential ecological risk (RI) factor of all metals tested together.
  • The highest RI was found in Hirakud, followed by Talcher, Bhadrak, Titlagarh, Chilika, Chandaneswar, Koraput and Daringbadi.

Hirakud Reservoir

  • Location: Sambalpur town in the state of Odisha
  • River: Mahanadi. 
  • Background: Commencing operations in 1957, it represents one of the earliest significant multipurpose river valley projects initiated following India's independence.
  • It is built across the Mahanadi River by a combination of earth and modern dams with a total length of almost 26 kilometers.
  • It thereby moderates the impact of floods in the Mahanadi Delta.
  • It was designated a Ramsar site in 2021