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Selaulim Dam Goa, India


The Salaulim Dam (also spelled Selaulim, Saluli) located on the Salaulim River, a tributary of the Zuari River in Goa, India, is an integral component of the Salaulim Irrigation Project which envisages benefits of irrigation and drinking water supply. Selaulim reservoir is the the source of potable water for about 55 per cent of the Goas population.

Selaulim dam’s water reservoir has been getting polluted by illegal mining and their rejection dumps. While revenue losses from illegal mining has been estimated at about Rs 3,000 crore, the loss by way of damage to the environment and loss of livelihood has not been estimated (1).

Goa legislative assemblys ad hoc committee on forests, had in the past suggested that water quality in the Selaulim dam be monitored as mining rejects from nearby dumps flow into it.

'The government should have an appropriate mechanism to undertake regular inspections and monitor the activities of the mining companies to prevent the flow of mining rejects in river bodies, especially in the vicinity of Selaulim dam at Sanguem,' the panel headed by BJP legislator Laxmikant Parsekar had stated.

In yet another reply on Tuesday, Kamat admitted that no study has been conducted to verify the impact of mining on the quality of water and also its impact on aquifer (2).

Villagers of Pirna and Nanoda villages jointly opposed mining of iron ore at Pirna alleging that it would destroy ecology.

Despite strong opposition from the villagers of Pirna and Nanoda to the Sem Denominacao Especial, owned by Sesa Goa, the mine still obtained an environmental clearance certifiacte on June 9, 2009.

Environmentalist Ramesh Gawas said, 'Mining has ripped apart the ecological, cultural and social fabric of our communities. There deadly government-industry nexus has allowed mining operations in violation of the law of the the land.' (3).

In September 2012, Goa government has finally resolved to shut down the mines pouring manganese and iron ore in the Selaulim reservoir (4).

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Selaulim Dam Goa, India
State or province:Goa
Location of conflict:Selaulim Dam
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Manganese
Iron ore

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The dam is situated about 100 km south of Panaji, the Capital of Goa. There are about 19 mining leases operating within a few kilometers of its periphery.

The dam is a composite earth-cum-masonry dam of 42.7 metres (140 ft) height with a water spread area of 24 km2 (9.3 sq mi).

(For other details about the dam, Wikipedia:

Project area:83
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Sesa Goa Limited from India
Soc Timblo Irmaos Limited from India
Chowgule and Co. Ltd from India
V M Salgaoncar & Bros Pvt from India - some of the mines involved include Curpem Iron ore, Sem Denominacao Expecial mine, Oikrio Dirodgal Curdi iron mine, Polo Dongor Iron ore Mine, Polo Dongor iron ore mine, Gulcon Dogor Iron ore mine
Relevant government actors:Government of Goa, Water Resources Minister, Goa
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Study conducted by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in 1994 showed excess iron and manganese levels in the Salaulim reservoir water., Environmentalist Ramesh Gawas, Goyencha Xetkarancho Ekvott (GXE)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:New legislation
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The Goa Government has taken initiative to shut down the mines pouring manganese and iron ore in the Selaulim reservoir,

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Goa’s Selaulim Dam reservoir may be open for water sports

(2) '19 mines within 500 metres of Goas Selaulim reservoir: Kamat'

(3) The Times of India, 'Pirna, Nanoda villagers united against mining'

The Economic Times 'Goa Government to shut down mines polluting Selaulim dam'

People complain of health problems in Sanguem

Parrikar should visit Selaulim dam as it is a serious issue: Gaonkar

Goa to shut down mines polluting Selaulim dam

Goa to close mines polluting Selaulim dam

Plaint filed against six mining firms for polluting Selaulim dam


(1) Down to Earth 'Mining in Goa: damage to the environment greater than loss of revenue'

First Post 'Goa govt to shut down mines polluting Selaulim reservoir'

Parrikar should visit Selaulim dam as it is a serious issue: Gaonkar

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Selaulim Dam, Goa

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update28/12/2015