India’s reservoirs now have 155% more water than last yr

Live storage in 123 reservoirs is at 66.372 billion cubic metres (BCM) or 39 per cent of total live storage capacity

By Shagun
Published: Friday 24 July 2020

Storage in several of the country’s reservoirs has steadily increased. There is 155 per cent more water than in 2019 and 119 per cent more than average storage in the dams in the past 10 years, as rains continue to lash parts of the country.

Data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) July 23, 2020 — which monitored from 123 reservoirs — said live storage available in the reservoirs was at 66.372 billion cubic metres (BCM) or 39 per cent of total live storage capacity.

This increased from 32 per cent recorded on July 2, 34 per cent recorded on July 9 and 36 per cent recorded on July 16. Live storage in reservoirs was 42.826 BCM in the corresponding period last year.

Of the 123 reservoirs, 92 reported more than 80 per cent normal storage.

The central region — including Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh — had the highest live storage (45 per cent) in terms of the capacity of its 19 reservoirs.

Storage during the corresponding period of last year was 25 per cent and average storage of the past 10 years during the corresponding period was 33 per cent of the live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

Departure from normal storage in Andhra Pradesh, UP and West Bengal was by more than half.

While reservoirs in West Bengal had 84 per cent more storage than normal, it was 88 per cent and 67 per cent in AP and UP respectively.

It is, thus, crucial for dam authorities in these states to be vigilant and carefully manage the release of water from the dams and follow the rule curve religiously.

The rule curve — an international practice of dam operation — must be followed by dam management authorities, as any lapse may lead to dam-induced floods, of which there are several instances in the country.

The rule curve mentions measures to regulate when and how dams should be filled and emptied, ensuring they are full only towards the end of the monsoon and providing them a cushion during times of excess rain and curbing chances of floods in downstream areas.

Chhattisgarh’s Dudhawa dam, for example, was at full capacity. The water in the dam was gradually being diverted to other dams starting July 23.

“We have started shifting water from Dudhawa dam to Ravi Shankar dam which is half full. Dudhawa’s current storage is now 72 per cent,” said Umakant Ramtekkar, executive engineer at Chhattisgarh’s water resources department.

“The monsoon was early in the state this time so we are trying to manage water carefully,” Ramtekkar added.

Most river basins monitored by the CWC have more than normal storage. Live storage in Maharashtra’s Tapi dam had the highest departure (89 per cent) with respect to average storage in the past 10 years.

Storage in the Sabarmati basin was 79 per cent more than the average of the last 10 years. In Godavari, it was 62 per cent, followed by Ganga basin with 56 per cent.

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