Water storage dropped to below 50 per cent of the capacity in 43 per cent of the 150 major Indian reservoirs this week as the level fell for the 17th consecutive week. However, the western region, comprising Gujarat and Maharashtra, saw its reservoir levels rise to 67 per cent of the capacity against 65 per cent a week ago. 

The water situation continues to be worrisome in northern and southern regions with the level dropping to 46.49 per cent and 34 per cent of the capacity. In the central region, the storage decline below 60 per cent of the capacity. The storage is below normal in 11 States. 

According to the weekly bulletin on live storage status issued by the Central Water Commission (CWC), the storage was 93.527 billion cubic metres (BCM) or 52 per cent of the capacity of 178.784 BCM. Last year, the reservoirs were filled to 83 per cent of the capacity and the last 10 year’s average is 97 per cent. 

The low water storage is a cause for concern, particularly for rabi crop and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting above normal temperatures this month in most parts of the country.

According to the IMD, 74 per cent of the country experienced deficient, large deficient or no rainfall since the beginning of this year. 

Among the 11 States where the water level is far lower than normal, Andhra Pradesh topped with a level 52 per cent below usual followed by Bihar at 38 per cent, Karnataka 32 per cent and Punjab 31 per cent. Assam has its reservoirs filled to the brim with the level at 177 per cent above normal. 

Dry & deficit

In the northern region, 7 of the 10 reservoirs were filled below 50 per cent of the capacity. The storage in the region was 46.49 per cent (48.49 per cent last week) of the 19.663 BCM capacity at 9.141 BCM.  Only one reservoir has storage that is above 80 per cent. 

In the southern region, the level was 34 per cent (36 per cent) of the 53.334 BCM at 18.360 BCM. Of the 43 reservoirs, the storage in 22 is below 50 per cent of the capacity. Besides lower storage in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, too, has a level that is 12 per cent below normal.  

The storage in the eastern region was 61 per cent (63.5 per cent) of the 20.430 BCM at 12.532 BCM. Of the 23 reservoirs, the level in eight is below 50 per cent of the capacity, though three are filled to capacity. Besides Bihar, Bengal (-3 per cent), Nagaland (-17 per cent), Odisha (-3 per cent) and Tripura (-4 per cent) had lower storage.

The situation in the western region seemed better with Maharashtra now having a two per cent higher than normal storage. Of the 49 reservoirs in the region, 37 are filled above 50 per cent of the capacity, but only one reservoir is filled to capacity. 

In the central region, 14 of the 26 reservoirs have a level below 50 per cent of the capacity. The storage this week was 59 per cent (61 per cent) of the 48.227 BCM capacity at 28.513 BCM. Among the States in the region, the level in Uttar Pradesh was 27 per cent and in Chhattisgarh 18 per cent below normal, respectively. 

With snowfall reported in the northern region and some areas receiving rainfall, there will likely be some improvement in the storage level next week.