Sir Arthur Cotton originally conceived the Tungabhadra Project in the year 1860. The proposals were further modified and developed subsequently evolving it into a joint scheme with Madras and Hyderabad. Shri N.Parameswaran Pillai accordingly revised the Scheme in 1933. Several agreements were concluded in the past for harnessing and imposing certain restrictions on utilizing the waters of the Tungabhadra.
The Tungabhadra Project was formally inaugurated by laying foundation stone on 28th February, 1945 by Prince of Berar on the left bank and by " Sir Arthur Hope" Governor of Madras on right bank. However,much headway could not be made up to January 1949. Difference of opinion in certain technical matters and unsettled political situation in Hyderabad were the reasons for the slow progress. The Madras and the Hyderabad Engineers were sharply divided on
      • nature of mortar to be used in the construction of the dam;
      • design of spillway;
      • design of over flow and non-overflow sections of the dam and
      • contraction joints.
These differences were referred to a Board of Engineers under the Chairmanship of Sri Visveswaraya    Statesman-cum-Engineer. History of construction of the project is at Annex 2.1.

With the creation of the state of Andhra  on the 1st October, 1953, it became the responsibility of the three Governments viz., Andhra, Mysore and Hyderabad. Subsequently, after the reorganisation of States on the1st November, 1956, the project became the concern of the two Governments viz., Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.