Jayakwadi dam is an earthen dam located on Godavari river at the site of Jayakwadi village in Paithan taluka of Aurangabad district in Maharashtra, India. It is a multipurpose project. The water is mainly used to irrigate agricultural land in the drought-prone Marathwada region of the state. It also provides water for drinking and industrial usage to nearby towns and villages and to the municipalities and industrial areas of Aurangabad and Jalna districts. The surrounding area of the dam has a garden and a bird sanctuary.
Jayakwadi is one of the longest earthen dams in Asia. Its height is approx 41.30 m and length of 9.998 km (10 km approx) with total storage capacity 2,909 MCM (million cubic meters) or 102.74 tmc ft. The total catchment area of dam is 21,750 km2. There are total 27 water gates for the dam. Jayakwadi Dam is also called as Nathsagar Dam.
Over its lifetime, it has overflowed 18 times. On 10 August 2006, the highest discharge of 250000 ft3/s was recorded.
Nath Sagar Jalashay
Nath Sagar Jalashay is the name of the reservoir formed by Jayakwadi Dam. Fed by the Godavari and Pravara rivers the reservoir is about 55 km long and 27 km wide and spans over 350 km2. Total submergence area due to the reservoir is approx 36,000 hectares.
Unfortunately siltation has taken a heavy toll on the project. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the dam is filled with silt, reducing its life as well as storage capacity. Survey findings show that from 2003 to 2012, there was a loss of 31% (that is 8.08 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet) in dead storage and 14% (that is 10.73 TMC) in live storage capacity of the dam due to silt.
Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary
The Nath Sagar reservoir creates 30 island of various sizes in the shallow waters, with trees for roosting, this provides an ideal shelter for migratory birds. Close to the dam a bird sanctuary has been created which is home for many species of resident and migrant birds. Almost 200 species of birds can be found in this region, which includes more than 70 species of migratory birds. Out of these, 45 chief species are of international migration. Notable amongst migratory birds are cranes, flamingos, pintails, wigeons, shovellers, brahminy ducks, pochards, teals, godwits, and glossy ibises.
Many species are reported in numbers larger than 1% of their bio-geographic population thresholds in Jayakwadi bird sanctuary (Wetlands International Norms – 2002). The Jayakwadi bird sanctuary qualifies for the congregatory criteria A4-i, A4-iii and A4-iv. [ A4i (≥1% biogeographic population), A4iii (≥20,000 water birds), A4iv (known to exceed thresholds set for migratory species) ].
However, the dam’s high water levels have resulted in a loss of habitats for the birds, with an environmentalist noting in 2019 that “it could happen that migratory birds from our country and abroad may prefer other water bodies than the bird sanctuary”.
Jnaneshwar Udyan or Dnyaneshwar Udyan is a garden in Maharashtra resembling the Brindavan Gardens near Mysore. It is situated by Nathsagar, the reservoir formed by the Jayakwadi Dam. Colourful flowerbeds, vast lawns and musical fountains are the attractions of the udyan. Ten plazas and twenty-two fountains are added features. More than a hundred thousand trees, in addition to the forty thousand fruit trees are the pride of the garden. There is also a nursery selling saplings and spices. It also has a children’s play area, swimming pool and boat rides.
It is named after the saint Jnaneshwar, whose native village was near Paithan.The lake of Nathsagar spread over 350 km² is a sanctuary for migratory flamingoes and other birds. Male Masjid is near the garden, where the wedding ceremony between Emperor Akbar’s son, Danial, and the princess of Bijapur, took place.