India’s largest rubber dam creates waterfront at sacred site

22 Nov 2022

An ingenious solution conceived and designed by Tractebel engineers has brought a sacred river to the surface in Bihar state, India.   

For followers of the Hindu faith, the city of Gaya in the eastern Indian state of Bihar is an important pilgrimage site. A focal point is the Vishnupad temple on the bank of the Falgu River, where people come to pay homage to their ancestors. The problem was that the river flowed mostly underground. For many years, pilgrims had to dig deep into the sand to draw the water needed for religious rituals. 

The Government of Bihar called upon Tractebel to find an engineering solution. The goal was to ensure a year-round “waterfront” next to the Vishnupad temple. Tractebel carried out comprehensive integrated surface-ground water modelling and water balance studies, and proposed a rubber dam across the Falgu River. It would be the first of its kind in the region, and the largest rubber dam in India.  



A detailed project report of the concept and design was submitted, approved, and construction undertaken. Now, the completed project is a reality and was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Bihar on September 8, 2022.


“The rubber dam was the most appropriate engineering solution for many reasons, including environmental concerns,” says Mithilesh Kumar, Tractebel Associate Vice President - Water, India. “In terms of the power requirement to operate the rubber dam, it is significantly lower than hydraulic gates on a conventional dam. The project will also enhance ground water availability and reduce the scarcity of drinking water to some extent. The successful design and implementation of this project not only ensures year-round water availability in the river near the temple, but it also greatly enhances the aesthetic, cultural and religious value of the area. It is expected to increase tourist and pilgrim influx as well as length of stay in the city, which will boost the local economy.”  

Mithilesh Kumar, Tractebel Associate Vice President - Water, India 



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