River Basins of India | Basin Map | Using Narmada Water | Geographical Description | Places of Interest


Physical | Climate  

Geographical Description of Basin


The Narmada basin extends over an area of 98796 Sq.km. and lies between east longitudes 72o 32' to 81o 45' and north latitudes 21o 20' to 23o 45'lying on the northern extremity of the Deccan Plateau, the basin covers large areas in the states of M.P., Gujarat and a comparatively smaller areas in Maharashtra.

The Narmada basin is bounded on the north by the Vindhyas, on the east by the Maikala range, on the south by the Satpuras and on the west by the Arabian sea. The basin has an elongated shape with a maximum length of 953 Km. from east to west and a maximum width of 234 Km. from the north south. The basin has five well defined physiographic zones. They are (i) the Upper hilly areas covering the distt. of Shahdol, Mandla, Durg, Balaghat and Seoni (ii) the Upper Plains covering the districts of Jabalpur, Narsimhapur, Sagar, Damoh, Chhindwara, Hoshangabad, Betul, Raisen and Sehore (iii) the middle plains covering the districts of East Nimar, part of west Nimar, Dewas, Indore and Dhar (iv) the lower hilly areas covering part of the west Nimar, Jhabua, Dhulia and parts of Baroda and (v) the lower covering mainly the districts of Broach and part of Baroda. The hilly regions are well forested. The upper, middle and lower plains are broad and fertile areas well suited for cultivation. The Narmada basin consists mainly of black soils. The costal plains in Gujarat are composed of Alluvial clays with a layer of black soils on the surface.


The tropic of Cancer crosses the Narmada Basin in the Upper plains area and a major part of the basin lies just below this line. The climate of the basin is humid and tropical, although at places extremes of heat and cold are often encountered. In the year, four distinct seasons occur in the basin. They are (i) Cold weather (ii) Hot weather (iii) South west monsoon and (iv) Post monsoon.

In the cold weather, the mean annual temperature varies from 17o 5 C to 20o C and in the hot weather from 30oC to 32o 5C. In the South west monsoon the temperature ranges from 27o 5 C to 30o C. In the post monsoon season, the temperatures between 25 C to 27.5 C are experienced.


According to the Indian Meteorological Deptt., there were ten rain gauges in 1867 in the entire Narmada basin. The number rose to 21 rain gauges in the year 1891, the year from which published rainfall data are available. Thereafter, there has been a study growth of the rain gauge network in the basin. In 1965, the number of reporting rain gauges above Garudeshwar was 69.

Nearly 90% of this rainfall is received during the five monsoon months from June to October about 60% is received in the two months of July & August.

The rainfall is heavy in the upper hilly and upper plains areas of the basin. It gradually decreases towards the lower plains and the lower hilly areas and again increases towards the cost and south western portions of the basin.

In the upper hilly areas, the annual rainfall is, in general, more than 1400 mm (55") but it goes up to 1650 mm (65") in some parts. In the upper plains from near Jabalpur to near Punasa dam site, the annual rainfall decreases from 1400 mm (55") to less than 1000 mm. (40") with the high rainfall zone around Pachmarhi where the annual rainfall exceeds 1800 mm (70"). In the lower plains the annual rainfall decreases rapidly from 1000 mm. (40") at the eastern and to less than 650 mm. (25") around Barwani, and this area represents the most arid part of the Narmada Basin in the lower hill areas, the annual rainfall again increases to a little over 750 mm. (30")