The river Vaitarna is one of the west flowing rivers in the region North of Mumbai and South of the Tapi River. The river rises in the Sahyadri hill range at Trimbak in the Nasik district of Maharashtra State and after traversing a distance of about 120 km in Maharashtra towards west, it joins the Arabian Sea. The Vaitarna basin lies between East longitude of 72° 45’ to 73° 35’ and North latitude of 19° 25’to 20° 20’.
The headstreams of the Vaitarna rise on the southern slopes of the Triambak-Anjaneri range and combine into three southward flowing streams which unite to form the Vaitarna a little north of Dapure. The Vaitarna from here has a very winding course southwards and goes round Zarwad (Jarwar) Budruk. Due south of it, the river is joined by its tributary Alvand nadi, whose headstreams rise in the same Triambak Anjaneri range on the southern slopes of the Bhaskargad, Phani dongar and Harish dongar, which form the divide between these and those of the Val river flowing northwards. After the confluence with the Alvand river, the Vaitarna turns and flows nearly straight in a south-south-west direction cutting a deep gorge in the scarp of the Sahyadris. A small tributary from the northwest to south-east in a gorge continues the course of the Vaitarna in a remarkably deeply cut valley. The main tributaries of Vaitarna river are Pinjal, Ganjai, Surya, Daharji, Tansa. The catchment area of Vaitarna basin completely lies in Thane and Nasik districts of Maharashtra. The Vaitarna drains an area of 2019 sq km before it falls in Gulf of Khambhat. There is only one hydrological observation site of CWC on Vaitarna river at Durvesh which is situated at the upstream of confluence of Surya and Tansa tributaries.
Accordingly to Koeppan’s Scheme, the climate of the basin is classified as AWTropical Savannah, as most of the peninsular plateau, south of Tropic of Cancer is classified. In the initial reaches, the climate is influenced by the Western Ghats that becomes coastal as the river reaches coastal plains. The climatic variations are experienced in the patterns of temperature, rainfall & winds, rhythm of seasons and degree of wetness or dryness. These are described as follows.
The Temperature is maximum in the month of May and Minimum in the month of December to January.
The basin receives most of the rainfall from the South West monsoon during June to October. Almost 98% of the annual rainfall of the basin is received during this period.
The average wind speed in the Vaitarna basin varies about 1.7 km/h to 6.8 km/h. In the pre and post-monsoon period, the wind speed is generally higher. The predominant wind direction is SW.
The relative Humidity in Vaitarna basin varies between 92.0 % and 70.0 % depending upon the season. Humidity is maximum in the monsoon period about 92.0 % to 87.9 %. In the winter months of November and December, it decreases.
The Great Trap region of the Deccan covers the maximum part of the Basin. It is entirely of volcanic formation. The volcanic portion consists of compact, stratified basalts, and an earthy trap. The basalts are the most conspicuous geological feature. To the west they lie in flat-topped ranges, separated by valleys, trending from west to east. In some flows the- basalt is columnar and then it weathers into the fantastic shapes. The formation at the base of the traps is chiefly amygdaloidal, containing quartz in vertical veins, crystals and zeolitic minerals, especially apophyllite weathering into a gray soil. The absence of laterite, which caps the summits of the hills to the south, is a curious feature in the geology of the area. The basalt is either fine textured or it is coarse and nodular.
The valleys are filled with disintegrated basalt of various shades from gray to black, washed down by rain. It is of argillaceous nature. This soil is not favorable to the growth of large trees but it is very fertile for cereals and pulses. The black soil contains high alumina and carbonates of calcium and magnesium with variable amounts of potash, low nitrogen and phosphorus. There are broadly two groups of soils: 1) Red coarse soil & 2) Alluvial soil The red soil is less common and is suitable for cultivation under a heavy and consistent rainfall. Red coarse soil derived from disintegration of basaltic rock fragments under heavy rainfall. The rock fragments have undergone intensive weathering and beaching with the surface weathered and fragmented materials being carried away with the heavy run off in the monsoon period. The residual soil left behind is usually reddish yellow in colour, shallow in depth, coarse sandy loam to sandy loam in texture, rapidly drained and low in fertility. Alluvial soil formed with the deposition of transported materials brought out by heavy run off. This soil is deep to very deep yellowish brown to grayish brown in colour and clay loam to salty loam in texture. This soil is normally free from salinity and alkalinity.
Major / Medium/ multipurpose/ irrigation projects
The major and medium projects completed / ongoing on Vaitarna river basin are as shown in table
|Sl. No.||Name of Project||River||Status||Gross Capacity(MCM)||Live Capacity(MCM)||Utilization|
|1||Vaitarn Hydro Electric Project(Upper Vaitarna)||Vaitarna||Major||301.60||295.80||Multipurpose|
|3||Modak Sagar(Lower Vaitarna)||Vaitarna||Medium||N.A.||N.A.||Irrigation|
|5||Deharji River Project||Deharji||Medium||93.120||89.840||Irrigation|
Vaitarna hydropower project
Vaitarna hydropower project is located near Vaitarna and Alwandi masonry and earthen dam on Vaitarna and Alwandi Rivers, 30 km from Ghoti, in Nashik District, Maharashtra. The catchment area at the dam is 160.8 km2. The height and length of the dam is 47 m and 555 m respectively. The reservoir has a live storage capacity of 35 MCM at FRLFull Reservoir Level 603.5 m and the MDDLMinimum Draw Down Level is at 580 m. The power house has a unit of 60 MW. It has a firm power of 11 MW with mean annual inflow of 635 MCM. MSEB commissioned the project in 1976.
Water Year Book 2013-2014, West Flowing Rivers, CWC, Narmada and Tapi Basin Organization, Hydrological Observation Circle, Gandhinagar, March 2015.