The hydro-electric potential of India’s rivers has been estimated by the Central Electricity Authority at 75 million KW of which barley 20% has been harnessed.
The Himalayan Rivers together have 32% of India’s installed capacity. The east-flowing peninsular rivers account for 34% of installed capacity. The Krishna, Godavari and Kavery being outstanding power sites on these rivers are located in their upper and middle reaches where gradient is high. Outstanding in the number of sites with abrupt falls on strong perennial rivers, are the west coast Rivers. They account for 29% of installed capacity.
The seasonal irregularity of flow in monsoon climate makes it difficult and expensive to exploit the potentials fully. Fortunately, ideal hydel sites and coalfields generally do not overlap.