Hirakud Dam Project is a multipurpose scheme intended for flood control, irrigation and power generation. The dam is built across river Mahanadi at about 15 km upstream of Sambalpur town in the state of Odisha. This is one of the oldest hydel projects of India, being the first post-independence major multi purpose river valley project in the country. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone in 1948. The dam is located at a distance of 6 km from national High way no. 6. The nearest rail head is Hirakud Railway Station which is at a distance of 8 km from the dam site.
The project provides 1,55,635 hectares of Kharif and 1,08,385 ha of Rabi irrigation in the districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Bolangir and Subarnapur. The water released through the power house irrigates further 4,36,000 ha of C.C.A in Mahanadi Delta. The installed capacity for power generation is 359.8 MW through its two power houses at Burla, at the right bank and Chiplima, at 22 km down stream of Dam. Besides, the project provides flood protection to 9500 sq. km of delta area in districts of Cuttack and Puri.