River length: 861 km
Basin area: 70,614 sq km
Population in basin: 17.5 million (2011)
States in basin: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana
Major cities using water
Solapur (pop: 951,000), Pune – from tributaries (pop: 3.1 million)
- Water depletion: 46%
- Dry season drought risk: Low
- Monsoon flood risk: Extremely high
- Seasonal variability of water levels: High
Economic & Environmental Significance
- The Bhima basin is part of the Krishna basin, and like its parent river, supports intensive agricultural activity. The Upper Bhima basin alone supports over 1.4 million hectares of agriculture, where crops such as sugarcane, wheat, millet and cotton are cultivated.
- The river’s tributaries are important sources of drinking water for the city of Pune. It also generates about 150 MW of power, which are partly used to supply Mumbai’s power needs. The districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur are also dependent on the river for drinking and agricultural purposes.
- The Bhima basin is very biodiverse and home to six wildlife sanctuaries, including the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary ¬– home to Maharashtra’s state animal, the Indian Giant Squirrel – and the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, one of the last refuges of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. Only about 250 of these birds survive. Other sanctuaries include the Rehekuri Blackbuck Sanctuary, the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ujjani Wetland.
- This ancient yet effective system of water supply no longer works and water is scarce in the region. Agriculture has suffered greatly. At one time, the river irrigated over 350,000 hectares, but today due to lack of irrigation water, lakhs of coconut trees in the area have gone dry and have been cut down.