The water level in 84 major reservoirs in the country has dropped lower than the last 10 years’ average. This is the result of prolonged dry weather from November and a truant monsoon.

According to data from the Central Water Commission, the storage level in the reservoirs is 25.191 billion cubic metres (bcm). This is 16 per cent of the full reservoir level of 154.421 bcm. During the same period last year, the level was 29 per cent of the storage capacity. The average level for the last 10 years is 20 per cent.

The level this year is only 57 per cent of what it was during the same time a year ago.

Until last week, the monsoon was 30 per cent deficient. But rains lashed various parts, cutting the deficit to 25 per cent as of Monday. However, it is unlikely to make up for the deficiency since the last quarter of 2011.

During October-December last year, rainfall was 48 per cent deficient, while for the January-February, it was five per cent deficient and during March-May the shortfall was 24 per cent.

The poor storage position could also affect power generation. According to the Commission, the storage level is lower than normal in 26 of the 37 reservoirs from where significant amount of power is produced.

The water level is zero in seven of the reservoirs, including Kabini, Krishnaraja Sagar and Almatti.

Of the 12 river basins in the country, the storage level is higher than the last 10 years’ average in only three.

The situation seems to be pretty dicey in the West with rivers of Kutch basin being highly deficient. In Gujarat, the water level is higher in only two of the 10 reservoirs and in Maharashtra, the storage is higher than the 10 years’ average in two of the 12 and closer to that level in four.

Despite the monsoon gaining momentum last week, water received by storages was better only in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Over the rest of the country, it has been only a trickle.

mrsubramani@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 9, 2012)
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