Sabarmati is one of the major rivers in the western region of India. It is a monsoon-fed river that originates in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan and has basin areas in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The river after traversing a distance of 400km meets the Gulf of Cambay. It flows mostly through Gujarat state except in its initial length of 9.5km. Various tributaries, important amongst which are the Hamav, Guhai, Hathmati, Khari, Meshwo, Mazam, Watrak, Mohar and shedhi, meet the main river. Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat state and Ahmedabad are located on the banks of this river. There are several reservoirs on Sabarmati and its tributaries namely- Dharoi dam, Hathmati dam, Harnav dam, Guhai dam, Meshvo reservoir, Meshvo pick-up weir, Mazam dam and Watrak dam. The last four schemes are located on tributaries meeting the main river downstream of Ahmedabad. The Dharoi dam is located on the main river.
At Ahmedabad, the river encompasses a total catchment area of 10,370 sqkm, out of the total basin area of 27,820 sqkm. Pre-project, the width of the river varied from 300m to 425m. Until Dharoi dam was built in 1976 (approximately 200km upstream of Ahmedabad) the Sabarmati was prone to severe and frequent flooding. The floods in the recent past that Ahmedabad has seen are discharges from Dharoi Dam- announced twelve hours in advance of the released water arriving in Ahmedabad. Vasna Barrage was built downstream of Ahmedabad in 1976 for water retention in Sabarmati and to divert water for irrigation through Fatehwadi Canal. The Narmada Canal, which crosses the river a few kilometres upstream from the city, is part of a larger irrigation network.