Water levels 22% below the average of last decade
Ten states have lesser water stored in their reservoirs when compared with levels in the corresponding period last year. The water level in reservoirs of these 10 states is also less than the average storage of last ten years around the same period, says the data released by CWC on December 27, 2018.
States having lesser storage (than the average storage of last 10 years) for the period are Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (two combined projects in both states), and Karnataka.
Four out of six regions/states in southern India remained the most empty in the region, where the water storage was 46 per cent less than the average stored in the last decade. Amongst these, the average storage in the reservoirs of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was the least. The water stored was nearly 40-45 per cent less than the average water stored by them in the last 10 years.
With 29 per cent less water (than the average of 10 years) stored in its water reservoirs, Gujarat remained the most empty in the region, followed by Maharashtra (27 per cent less).
In the east and northeast, except for Tripura, the water stored in reservoirs of the remaining three states—West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha—was less than the average storage of the last ten years. West Bengal stored the least, with the water stored being 24 per cent less than the average water stored in the last decade, followed by Jharkhand (14 per cent less) and Odisha (4 per cent less).
Farmers growing rabi crops may be affected
Even though most of the reservoirs were full during the monsoons, less storage is likely to affect the rabi crop. Less rainfall in some of the regions like Maharashtra’s Pune and Nashik has already affected the rabi crop according to the state agriculture department and less storage in water reservoirs is likely to aggravate the situation further. Less storage capacity of the water reservoirs is also an indicator of the increasing sedimentation and health of the rivers that feed into these reservoirs.
The Tungabhadra dam’s capacity has been reduced considerably due to silt, shows the latest reservoir update provided by Karnakata.
These reservoirs help to cope-up with variations in water supply and demand, supporting agriculture and livestock production during dry spells and generating power.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted that El Nino is likely to affect the 2019 monsoon season. A deficit monsoon is once again expected to result in less storage capacity and affect India’s already-stressed farmers. In March 2018, Nitin Gadkari called for increasing the total capacity of completed dams in the country from 253 billion cubic meter (BCM) to 450 BCM.
But it is also the time for a serious reality check of the optimum utilisation of large water reservoirs existing in the country.
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