Brindavan KRS garden - Mysore
Sunset near the venugopala swamy temple of KRS dam

How it started...

The region of Mysore and especially Mandya had historically been dry and had witnessed mass migration to adjoining areas in the hot summers. A severe drought in 1875–76 had wiped out one-fifth of the population of the Kingdom of Mysore. Crop failures were common due to lack of water for irrigation. The Kaveri river was seen as a potential source of irrigation water for the farmers in and around Mysore in the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore.

The Chief Engineer of Mysore M. Visvesvaraya presented a blueprint of a dam to be built across the river near the village of Kannambadi. However, he faced opposition from the finance ministry of the government of Mysore, who said the project would "serve no purpose" and that the electricity produced from it would not be of complete use due to lack in demand. He then approached T. Ananda Rao, the Diwan of Mysore and the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV for a reconsideration. Upon examining, the latter gave his consent issuing an order on 11 October 1911 to begin the project and a sum of Rs.81 lakh was set aside for it. Madras Presidency then opposed the project and urged the imperial government to not approve it. Upon Visvesvaraya's persuasion, the government consented. However, the initial plan to build a dam 194-feet high to hold an estimated 41,500,000,000 cu ft (1.18 km3) of water had to be dropped.

Sir. M Visvesvaraya

Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar

Construction began in November 1911, the dam was built across the river Kaveri in 1924 and construction was completed in 1931. 10,000 workers were employed. A mortar known as surki was used in place of cement, as the latter was not manufactured in India at the time and importing would prove costly for the state. By the time construction completed in 1931, around 5,000 to 10,000 persons had lost their homes to the project. However, they were rehabilitated and provided with agricultural land in the adjacent areas by the government.

Few facts about KRS dam
Gross Storage Capacity   49.452 TMC
Dead Storage Capacity   4.401 TMC
Live Storage Capacity   45.051 TMC
Total area submerged   26,640 acres
Full Reservoir level   124.80 ft
Minimum dropdown level   74 ft
Dead Storage level level   60 ft
Length of Dam   8597 ft.
Dam type   Gravity dam of size stone masonry
Number of gates   18 nos.
Catchment Area   10619 sq. km.
Irrigated area or ayacut   1,95,972 acres

The water is used for irrigation in Mysore and Mandya, and it is the main source of drinking water for all of Mysore, Mandya and the Bengaluru city. The water released from this dam flows into the state of Tamil Nadu and is stored in Mettur dam in the Salem district.