In Sanskrit "Betwa" is Vetravati. This river is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata along with the Charmanwati river. Both are tributaries of Yamuna. Vetravati was also known as Shuktimati. The capital of Chedi Kingdom was on the banks of this river.The total length of the river from its origin to its confluence with Yamuna is 590 kilometres (370 mi), out of which 232 kilometres (144 mi) lies in Madhya Pradesh and the balance of 358 kilometres (222 mi) in Uttar Pradesh. In accordance with an inter-state agreement between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1973, Betwa River Board (BRB) was constituted under the Betwa River Board Act, 1976. The Union Minister of Ministry of Water Resources the Chairman of the Board and the Union Minister of Power, Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Chief Ministers and Ministers in-charge of Finance, Irrigation and Power of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are its Members.
The Betwa River is being linked with the Ken River as a part of the river linking project in Madhya Pradesh. Another noteworthy project on the Betwa River is the construction of the Matatila Dam, an undertaking between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The region is important for migratory waterbirds.