World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ravi River

Ravi River
Ravi river.
Origin Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India
Mouth Chenab River
Basin countries India, Pakistan
Length 720 km (450 mi)
Avg. discharge 267.5 m3/s (9,450 cu ft/s)
Basin area India and Pakistan
River system Indus River System
Right tributaries Siul

The Ravi (Punjabi: ਰਾਵੀ, Urdu: راوی‎, Sanskrit: इरावती, परुष्णि, Hindi: रावी) is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region (name of Punjab means "Five Rivers").[1] The waters of Ravi are allocated to India under Indus Water Treaty.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, the waters of the Ravi and five other rivers are divided between India and Pakistan. Subsequently, the Indus Basin Project has been developed in Pakistan and many inter-basin water transfers, irrigation, hydropower and multipurpose projects have been built in India.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • River course 2.1
  • Vegetation 3
  • Hydrology 4
  • International water-sharing treaty 5
  • Interstate water dispute 6
  • Interbasin water transfer 7
  • See also 8
  • External links 9
  • References 10


According to ancient history traced to Vedas, the Ravi River was known as Iravati (also spelt Airavati)[2]

Part of the battle of the ten kings was fought on a River, which according to Yaska (Nirukta 9.26) refers to the Iravati River (Ravi River) in the Punjab.


The Ravi River, a trans-boundary river of India and Pakistan, is an integral part of the Indus River Basin and forms the headwaters of the Indus basin. The waters of the Ravi River drain into the Indian Ocean through the Indus River in Pakistan. The river rises in the Bara Bhangal, District Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, India. The river drains a total catchment area of 14,442 square kilometres (5,576 sq mi) in India after flowing for a length of 720 kilometres (450 mi). Flowing westward, it is hemmed by the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges, forming a triangular zone.[3]

River course

Source reach
Pir Panjal Range
Source of Budhil River, in Himachal Pradesh a major tributary of the Ravi River

The Ravi River originates in the rain shadow. Two of its major tributaries, the Budhil and Nai or Dhona join 64 kilometres (40 mi) downstream from its source. The Budhil River rises in Lahul range of hills and is sourced from the Manimahesh Kailash Peak and the Manimahesh Lake, at an elevation of 4,080 metres (13,390 ft), and both are Hindu pilgrimage sites. The entire length of Budhil is 72 kilometres (45 mi) where it has a bed slope of 314 feet per mile (59.5 m/km). It flows through the ancient capital of Bharmwar, now known as Bharmour in Himachal Pradesh. During 1858–1860, the Raja of Bharmour had considered the Budhil valley as an excellent source of Deodar trees for supply to the British Raj. However, a part of the forest surrounding the temple was considered sacred and declared a reserved area. The second tributary, the Nai, rises at Kali Debi pass, and flows for 48 kilometres (30 mi), with a bed slope of 366 feet per mile (69.3 m/km), from its source at Trilokinath to its confluence with the Ravi. This valley was also exploited for its forest wealth during the British period.[5][6]

Kashmir valley seen from satellite. Eastern sector of snow-capped Pir Panjal range separates Beas and Ravi River basins from the Chenab valley

Another major tributary that joins the Ravi River, just below Bharmour, the old capital of Chamba, is the Seul River from the northern direction. The valley formed by the river was also exploited for its rich timber trees. However, the valley has large terraces, which are very fertile and known as "the garden of Chamba". crops grown here supply grains to the capital region and to Dalhousie town and its surrounding areas. One more major tributary that joins the Ravi River near Bissoli is the Siawa. This river was also exploited for its forest resources, (controlled by the then Raja of Chamba) originating from the Jammu region. The valley is also formed by another major tributary that joins Seul River, the Baira-Nalla. Its sub-basin is in the Chamba district, located above Tissa. Baira drains the southern slopes of the Pir Panjal Range. The valley has an elevation variation between 5,321 metres (17,457 ft) and 2,693 metres (8,835 ft).[3][5][6]

Tant Gari is another small tributary that rises from the subsidiary hill ranges of the Pir Panjal Range east of Bharmour. The valley formed by this stream is U-shaped with a river bed scattered with boulders and glacial morainic deposits.[6]

Boats floating beside the Ravi River in Lahore
Bridge of boats on the Ravi taken by unknown photographer in 1880
Main Ravi River

The main Ravi River flows through the base of Dalhousie hill, past the Chamba town. It is at an elevation of 856 metres (2,807 ft) (where a long wooden bridge existed to cross the Ravi River).[7] It flows into the south-west, near Madhopur and Pathankot. It then flows along the Indo–Pak border for 80 kilometres (50 mi) before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab River. The total length of the river is about 725 kilometres (450 mi).[1]

Ujh River is another major tributary of the Ravi River. Its source is in the Kailash mountains at an elevation of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft), close to the Bhaderwah Mountains in Jammu district. After flowing for 100 kilometres (62 mi), it joins Ravi at Nainkot in Pakistan.

As the Ravi flows past Lahore in Pakistan (26 kilometres (16 mi) below Amritsar in India) it is called "The river of Lahore" since that city is on its eastern bank. After passing through Lahore the river takes a turn at Kamlia and then debouches into the Chenab River, south of the town of Ahmadpur Sial. On its western bank is the town of Shahdara Bagh with the tomb of Jahangir and the Tomb of Noor Jahan.[1][3]

The Ravi Toll Plaza is built before Ravi River's bridge, in Lahore on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.
Change of river course

According to satellite imagery studies carried out over a period of 20 years (between 1972–1973 and 1991–1993), the river coursing along the India–Pakistan border meanders substantially in the alluvial plains of the Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts of Punjab. This has resulted in successive damage in the Indian Territory as a result of the river changing its course towards India. The reason attributed to this change in the course of the river is massive river training structures/bunds constructed by Pakistan in its part of the river, close to the old course of the river. The shift in the course of the river is reported to be 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) towards India.[8]

River water pollution

In the trans-boundary Ravi River flowing from India to Pakistan, in urban areas of Lahore the pollution levels in the river discharge are reportedly very high, which is attributed to careless disposal of large amount of industrial and agricultural waste water and faulty drainage systems in both countries.[9][10] A 72-kilometre (45 mi) stretch of the Ravi River from Lahore Siphon to Baloki headworks indicates heavy contamination of the water and sediment with Cd, Cr, Co and Cu. The river sediments are highly contaminated and have become secondary source for pollution of the river water, even though some control over unauthorised discharges into the river have been checked. Hence, measures to check metal re-mobilization from sediments into the river flows needs attention.[9] The worst affected drainage is the Hudiara drain, a tributary of the Ravi River. It is also a trans-border problem involving both India and Pakistan. A UNDP funded a special programme was launched in 2006 to address the issue in both countries.[10]


The Ravi valley in its upper reaches has Deodar, walnut, Quercus ilex, mulberry, alder, edible pine (Pinus gerardiana), twisted cypress (Cupressus torulosa), chinar (Platanus orientalis), daphne papyracea, cedrela serata, and sisso, olive and kakkar (raus).[11]


The waters of the Ravi River are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty, signed by India and Pakistan. Within India, the river is under the jurisdiction of the riparian states of Punjab and Himachal and non-riparian states of Haryana, Kashmir and Rajasthan, but management is presided by the Supreme Court of India and the Ravi Beas Tribunal, set up in 1986 for the purpose.

Pre-partition utilisation
A map of the Punjab region ca. 1947 showing the doabas formed by Ravi River with other rivers of the Indus River system.

On the Ravi River, the earliest project built was the Madhopur Headworks, in 1902. It is a run-of-the river project (no storage envisaged) to divert flows through the Upper Bari Doab Canal (also known as Central Bari Doab Canal) to provide irrigation in the command area of the then unified India. Doabas formed by the Ravi River are known as the Rechna Doab – between the Chenab and the Ravi River, and the Bari Doab or Majha – between the Ravi and the Beas River. Government of India has assessed the pre-partition use in India (Punjab) as 1.821 cubic kilometres (1,476,000 acre·ft).[12]

Chamera Lake and dam

The Hydropower potential of Ravi River system has been assessed as 2294 MW.[13] The hydropower potential developed since the 1980s is through installation of Baira Suil Hydroelelectric Power Project of 198 MW capacity, the Chamera-I of 540 MW capacity commissioned in 1994, the Ranjitsagar Multipurpose Project (600 MW) completed in 1999 and the Chamera-II of 300 MW capacity in the upstream of Chamera-I commissioned in 2004.[14]

Multipurpose development

The major multipurpose project (Irrigation, Hydropower, Flood Control, development of Fisheries, Tourism and so forth) built on the river is the Ranjit Sagar Dam (also known as Thein dam as it is in Thein village). The left bank is in Punjab and the right bank is in Jammu and Kashmir. It is located on the main stem of the Ravi River, about 24 kilometres (15 mi) upstream of Madhopur Headworks (built during pre-partition time). The project is an outcome of the development plan conceived for the use of the waters of three eastern rivers allocated to India under the Indus Treaty, namely the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi, for irrigation, hydropower generation and other consumptive uses.[15][16][17][18]

A proposal for building a storage dam on the Ravi River was initially planned in 1912, envisaging a 61 metres (200 ft) high dam. A committee later conducted a survey of the area, but it was not until 1954 that geologists fully inspected the project area. In 1957, a storage Dam was proposed on the Ravi River for irrigation purposes only. The power generation aspect was not considered then. It was only in 1964 that the project was conceived for multipurpose development and submitted to Government of India for approval. Finally, in April 1982, the project was approved for construction by the Government of India.

The project, as built now, has a 160-metre (520 ft) high earth gravel shell dam with a gross irrigation potential of 348,000 hectares (860,000 acres) of land and power generation of 600 MW (4 units of 150 MW capacity each).[15][17][18]

The geomorpohological setting of the river basin, which has a large number of terraces between Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, is attributed to the truly Himalayan characteristics of the river reflecting the "cis-Himalayan tectonic; structural, lithological and climatic conditions. Obviously it is different from the antecedent Indus and Sutlej".[19]

International water-sharing treaty

The Indus River system comprising the rivers, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Chenab, Jhelum and Indus- a shared legacy between India and Pakistan

The upper reaches of the main Indus River and its tributaries lie in India whereas the lower reaches are in Pakistan. Following the partition of India in August 1947, a dispute arose between India and Pakistan on sharing of the waters of the Indus River Basin. The dispute was resolved with the intervention of the World Bank and a treaty was signed in 1960 on sharing of the Indus waters between India and Pakistan.[20][21]

The Indus System of Rivers comprises the three Western Rivers in the Indus, the Jhelum and Chenab together with three Eastern Rivers; the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi. To establish the ownership of these waters, an Indus Water Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan on 1 April 1960, under monitoring of the World Bank. The treaty, under Article 5.1, envisages the sharing of waters of the rivers Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum and Chenab which join the Indus River on its left bank (eastern side) in Pakistan. According to this treaty, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, which constitute the eastern rivers, are allocated for exclusive use by India before they enter Pakistan. However, a transition period of 10 years was permitted in which India was bound to supply water to Pakistan from these rivers until Pakistan was able to build the canal system for utilisation of waters of Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus itself, allocated to it under the treaty. Similarly, Pakistan has exclusive use of the Western Rivers Jhelum, Chenab and Indus but with some stipulations for development of projects on these rivers in India. Pakistan also received one-time financial compensation for the loss of water from the Eastern rivers. Since 31 March 1970, after the 10-year moratorium, India has secured full rights for use of the waters of the three rivers allocated to it.[22][23] The treaty resulted in partitioning of the rivers rather than sharing of their waters.[24]

Under this treaty, the two countries also agreed to exchange data and co-operate in matters related to the treaty. For this purpose, treaty envisaged creation of the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country.[23] The Indus Waters Treaty is the only International treaty that has been implemented over the last 60 years with due diligence and sincerity by both India and Pakistan, in spite of many wars fought between the two countries (the treaty was not revoked either by India or Pakistan during the 1965 or the 1971 war).[20][25]

Interstate water dispute

Even prior to the partition of India in August 1947, India had developed projects on the river Ravi and Beas River system. When the treaty was under debate, India had taken advance action to develop the three rivers, which were eventually allocated to it under the treaty. According to a directive of the Government of India, planning for development of the Ravi and Beas rivers was initiated concurrently with the treaty negotiations, which involved four riparian states of Punjab, PEPSU (this was merged with Punjab and subsequently Punjab was divided, and additionally the Haryana state was created), Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) within the ambit of the already developed Bhakra Nangal Dam project on the Sutlej River. A review of the flows in the two river systems revealed that prior to partition of the country and up to the time of the signing of the Indus Treaty, 3.86 cubic kilometres (3,130,000 acre·ft) of water was used by major irrigation systems such as the Upper Bari Doab Canal System (1959) and the Lower Bari Doab Canal System (1915). The unused flow in the two river systems was assessed at 19.22 cubic kilometres (15,580,000 acre·ft), which was planned to be developed by the four states of J&K, PEPSU, Punjab and Rajasthan. However, with the merger of PEPSU with Punjab and subsequent bifurcation of Punjab into two states, a dispute arose on the allocation of Ravi and Beas waters for which a tribunal was set up under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act.[12][26]

As a counter claim to the exclusive claims of Punjab, Haryana claims that a small part of Haryana state lying north in Panchkula district[27] is part of Sutlej river basin area in addition to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in India. Thus Haryana claims to be a riparian state of Indus river basin.

Following the reorganisation of the state of Punjab in 1966, Haryana State was created. This was followed by a notification by the Government of India dated 24 March 1976 allocating the surplus waters between Punjab and Haryana in due consideration of the powers conferred by Sub Section (I) of Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 (31 of 1966). The allocation was challenged in the Supreme Court by Haryana. A tripartite agreement followed on 31 December 1981, based on the revised mean annual flows from the flow series of 1921–60 assessed as 25.36 cubic kilometres (20,560,000 acre·ft)—including prepartition use of 3.86 cubic kilometres (3,130,000 acre·ft) and transit losses in the Madhopur Beas Link of 260,000 acre feet (0.32 km3)—vis-a-vis the figure of 19.55 cubic kilometres (15,850,000 acre·ft) assessed in earlier allocation, which was based on the flow series of 1921–45. The revised assessed surplus supplies of 17,170,000 acre feet (21.18 km3) (from flow and storage) was allocated as:[12]

However, the legality of this agreement was challenged by Punjab. This was followed by the Punjab accord signed by the then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, on 24 July 1985. This accord stipulated that

Following the above accord, Ravi & Beas Waters Tribunal (RBWT) came to be set up in April 1986, in pursuance of paragraphs 9.1 & 9.2 of Punjab Settlement (Rajiv-Longowal Accord, 1985) inter-alia to adjudicate the claims of Punjab and Haryana in Ravi-Beas waters. The Terms of Reference was set and also the time for submission of the report. The Tribunal submitted its report on 30 January 1987. However, the report was contested as Rajasthan also moved an application "seeking explanation and guidance regarding the report of this Ravi Beas waters Tribunal, 1987". The Tribunal is further examining the matter. It is yet to submit its further report to the Government on the pleas submitted by the party States and the Central Government also seeking explanation/guidance on its earlier report. In the mean time, a Presidential reference on Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 is pending before the Honorable Supreme Court. Hence, the further hearings of the Tribunal and its final report are now enjoined on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing of the Presidential reference.[12][28]

Punjab has not allowed the construction of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal in its territory for transferring Haryana share of water from the Indus river basin. The SYL canal lying in Haryana was completed but idling for want of water from the Sutlej River. If Haryana is interested in getting its water share as per the agreements, it can construct the remaining canal via Himachal Pradesh area bypassing Punjab area totally by tapping water directly from the Bhakra Nangal reservoir located in Himachal Pradesh. The Minimum drawdown level of Bhakra Nangal reservoir and the topography in Himachal state is suitable for the SYL (refer Google earth). Additional water from Sutlej River is very much useful to augment drinking water supplies of ever expanding cities like Delhi, Gurgoan, Panchkula, Chandigarh, etc. in addition to meet the agriculture and industrial requirements in entire Haryana state.

Punjab is contemplating to construct 206 MW Shahpur kandi hydro electric project on the Ravi river between Ranjitsagar dam and Madhopur head works.[29] This stretch of the river is forming boundary between J & K state and Punjab state. Since Punjab had unilaterally exited from the earlier water sharing agreements, J & K state refused the project construction. Also J & K state is going ahead with the construction of Ravi canal originating from Basantpur to irrigate 54,000 hectares (133,000 acres) of land in Jammu region.[30] This canal would draw river water by pumping the water released downstream from the Rangitsagar reservoir for which J & K state is not required to take consent from Punjab as it is not bound by earlier river water sharing agreements.[31]

Interbasin water transfer

Transfer of surplus water from one basin to another, termed as interbasin water transfer has been effectively implemented on the Ravi River. The surplus waters of the Ravi River have been transferred directly first to the Beas River through the Ravi-Beas Link. A further link from Beas River to the Sutlej River by the Beas Sutlej Link augments storage of the Bhakra reservoir in India.[32]

See also

External links

  • Indian climate change from Harappa period.
  • Indus river’s transition.
  • Cleghorn, H. (2001). Report upon the forests of the Punjab and the Western Himalaya. Ravi River (Indus Publishing). pp. 109–112.  
  • Garg, Santosh Kumar (1999). International and interstate river water disputes. Laxmi Publications. pp. 54–55.  
  • Jain, Sharad.K.; Pushpendra K. Agarwal; Vijay P. Singh (2007). Hydrology and Water Resources of India. Springer. pp. 481–484.  
  • The Indian geographical journal, Volume 60. Indian Geographical Society. 1985. p. 188. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 


  1. ^ a b c d "Ravi River". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Hastings, James (2003). Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 18. Kessinger Publishing. p. 605.  
  3. ^ a b c Jain, Sharad.K.; Pushpendra K. Agarwal; Vijay P. Singh (2007). Hydrology and Water Resources of India. Springer. pp. 481–484.  
  4. ^ "Executive Summary of Environmental Impact Assessment Report Bajoli Holi H. E. Project (180 MW)Chamba, Himachal Pradesh" (PDF). R. S. Envirolink Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 2010. p. 18. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Cleghorn, H. (2001). Report upon the forests of the Punjab and the Western Himalaya. Ravi River (Indus Publishing). pp. 109–112.  
  6. ^ a b c "Ravi River in Himachal". Himachal Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Cleghorn, p.113
  8. ^ Thomas, Abraham; Sharma, PK (1998). "The shift of ravi river and the geomorphological features along its course in amritsar and gurdaspur districts of punjab". Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing 26: 57.  
  9. ^ a b "Assessment of Heavy Metals in Sediments of the River Ravi,Pakistan" (pdf). International Journal of Agriculture & Biology. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Pakistan, India Join Hands to Clean Canal". River Basin Initiative. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Cleghorn, pp.112–113
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Brief Note on Ravi, Beas and Sutlej system". Ravi River. Water Resources Department, Government of Rajasthan. 
  13. ^ "Base Line set up of the area" (pdf). Satlu Vidyut Nigam Ltd. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  14. ^ Dr. Mohinder Kumar Slariya. "The Other Side of Hydroelectric Power Development:-A Study of NHPC Owned Power Projects" (pdf). Government PG College, Chamba Himachal Pradesh. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Ranjit Sagar Dam (Hydro Electric Project) 4 X 150 MW". Punjab State Electricity Board. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "Information on some major projects". Ranjit Sagar Dam. Central Water Commission: National Informatics Centre. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Punjab". Irrigation. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Hydropower potential in India". 
  19. ^ The Indian geographical journal, Volume 60. Indian Geographical Society. 1985. p. 188. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  20. ^ a b "The Indus waters Treaty A South Asia Program". Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  21. ^ "Water Sharing Conflicts Between Countries, and Approaches to Resolving Them" (pdf). Honolulu: Global Environment and Energy in the 21st century. p. 41. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Garg, Santosh Kumar (1999). International and interstate river water disputes. Laxmi Publications. pp. 54–55.  
  23. ^ a b "Indus Waters Treaty 1960" (pdf). Site Resources; World Bank. pp. 1–24. 
  24. ^ "Water Sharing Conflicts Between Countries, and Approaches to Resolving Them" (pdf). Honolulu: Global Environment and Energy in the 21st century. p. 98. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  25. ^ "War over water". Guardian. 3 June 2002. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  26. ^ "water sharing Conflicts within Countries" (pdf). Honolulu: Global Environment and Energy in the 21st century. 2004. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  27. ^ "Wet lands of Haryana state (page 27)" (pdf). GoI. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "River Water Disputes". Government of India. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  29. ^ "Shahpur kandi HEP – PSPCL". Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "Punjab Loses Teeth, J&K Gets a Canal – Free Press Kashmir". 23 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "Agreement between Punjab and J&K on Ranjit Sagar Dam, etc" (PDF). 1979. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  32. ^ Garg, p.98
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.