More than a month into monsoon reservoir levels up only 6%

The country’s 91 reservoirs are holding less than a quarter of water they can

By Shagun
Published: Friday 19 July 2019

Monsoon has now covered the entire country and yet the live storage in India’s reservoirs improved by only six per cent since its arrival on June 8, 2019.

At the arrival of the southwest monsoon, the cumulative live storage level in 91 reservoirs was 29.189 BCM (billion cubic metres), according to the first weekly bulletin released by Central Water Commission (CWC) post-monsoon on June 13, 2019.

It has been more than a month, but the storage levels have shown just a marginal improvement. Currently, the cumulative live storage level is at 39.319 BCM, which is just 24 per cent of the total live storage capacity, according to the bulletin released on July 18.

The situation is ominous in at least seven dams that till date have zero per cent live storage — four in Maharashtra, two in Tamil Nadu and one in Telangana.

However, last year in the corresponding period, the reservoirs had 51.536 BCM, which is much more than what this monsoon got. Also, the average live storage level of the last 10 years was 44.690 BCM, which is still higher than the current reservoir levels.

The 2019 monsoons have progressed at the slowest pace in the past at least 12 years, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). There is an overall rainfall deficit of 16 per cent in the country so far. This has led to acute water shortage, especially in southern and western states.

In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, deficiency of water in reservoirs has increased since the arrival of monsoon. Water deficit in Kerala’s reservoirs stands at 62 per cent now from 24 per cent last month.

Similarly, in Tamil Nadu and Telangana, the deficiency surged to 63 and 60 per cent from 41 and 34 per cent, respectively.

All these three states have a rainfall deficit of 48 per cent (Kerala), 33 per cent (Tamil Nadu) and 37 per cent (Telangana).

In 25 of the 31 reservoirs in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, the water level is at 40 per cent or less than the reservoirs’ storage capacity. Similarly, 25 of the 27 reservoirs in Maharashtra and Gujarat fall in this category.

The deficiency in Gujarat’s reservoirs jumped to 27 per cent from 22 per cent since monsoon arrived in India. The state has a rainfall deficit of 42 per cent.

Water storage in important rivers like Godavari, Cauvery and west-flowing rivers of south is deficient and highly deficient in Tapi, Sabarmati and rivers of Kutch.

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