Salaulim or Saluli Dam is one of the most important dams in the state of Goa
. The dam lies on the Selaulim River, a tributary of Zuari River, about five kilometers from Sanguem Town. It is the biggest man-made dam in Goa and also one of the most popular tourist attractions over here.
It is an integral part of the Salaulim Irrigation Project that envisages advantages of drinking water supply and irrigation in Goa. Salaulim Dam is a composite structure made out of earth and stonework, with a height of around 140 feet. The length of the dam is almost 3294 feet with a water area of 24 square kilometer. The gross water capacity of the dam is 234.361 cubic meters with a storage capacity of 227.157 cubic meters. Out of the entire storage capacity of the dam, 126 cubic meters is for irrigation purposes and the remaining water capacity is kept for industrial and domestic water purposes in South Goa. Submergence
To build the dam, around 20 villages were partially of fully removed. Around 3000 people were dislodged and relocated. Moreover, surrounding mining areas were also submerged will full compensation. Besides villages and mining areas, an eight feet statue of Mother Goddess (built in 5th century) was also relocated to Verna. Another temple (dated 10th to 11th century) that came under one of the submerged village, Kurdi, was shifted to a place about 17 kilometers from the reservoir. The entire process of shifting the temple took around 11 years as the temple was first taken apart and then reassembled to another location after carefully numbering each stone.
The Irrigation Process
The main plan of the irrigation system was to irrigate Sanguem, Salceto and Quepum taluks and grow sugarcane to meet the growing demand of the sugar mill in Goa. The primary canal, which is on the left side of the bank, is about 25.73 kilometers long. The distributary and minor canals of the primary canal provide irrigation to a land of almost 35,400 acres. Since the length of two distributary canals has been shortened, the irrigation demand is reduced by 11,600 acres. The water that is saved is supposed to be used for meeting the demands of industrial and domestic purposes. Thus the dam plays an important role in the irrigation system of Goa and is also a primary source of drinking water in the state.
Facilities Near the Dam
A number of proposals were made to add a health center with 300 hospital beds near the dam. Right next to it, lays a picturesque botanical garden, which was planted and built on the basis of the popular Brindavan Gardens in Mysore. Families, friends and travelers from all over the country come to this place to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Salaulim dam. Moreover, this place is heaven for professional photographers and bird-watchers as there are a number of bird species over here and the view of sunset is phenomenal. A tourist rest house and a private resort are located near the dam for visitors who want to stay for a longer period.
The dam also plays a significant role to the local fishing community for their livelihood. Since fish is an important aspect for the people in Goa, therefore, the government has provided many employment opportunities to the fishing community in Salaulim and Anjunem. Fish seed farming was initiated in the fresh water lake for the coastal folks.
Best time to visit Salaulim Dam
The best time to visit the dam is during the monsoon season. This is because the rains make the scenery around the dam even more beautiful and serene. A small island peeking from the mirrored image of the water with a breathtaking view of the blue majestic mountains in the backdrop makes the dam a perfect place for family picnics during monsoons. It is one of the most visited dams in Goa during the rains.
How to reach Salaulim Dam
To reach Salaulim Dam, one has to either hire a taxi or drive down 35 kilometers from Margao city. Once you reach the town of Sanguem, Salaulim Dam is just another 5 kilometers from there.