The decline in rainfall over the last few years has affected the country’s water storage capacity, with the north and the south being worst hit.(AFP/Photo for representation)
The decline in rainfall over the last few years has affected the country’s water storage capacity, with the north and the south being worst hit.(AFP/Photo for representation)

Water levels of country’s major reservoirs drop

Water levels of the country’s 91 major reservoirs have dropped to 20% of their storage capacity, well below the 10-year average, government data shows.
By Toufiq Rashid | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 11, 2018 12:03 AM IST

Water levels of the country’s 91 major reservoirs have dropped to 20% of their storage capacity, well below the 10-year average, government data shows.

The decline in rainfall over the last few years has affected the country’s water storage capacity, with the north and the south being worst hit, details shared by the Central Water Commission (CWC) say. “Situation in the reservoirs is not good , there is a 10% deficiency in water storage compared to the average of last ten years,’’ CWC chairman S Masood Hussain said over phone. As per the CWC data released on May 10, it was found that in 91 reservoirs only 33.186 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water remained compared to their holding capacity of 161.993 BCM. The levels have further reduced from 35.219 BCM last week.

The water level in the week ending on May 10 was 88% of the storage in the corresponding period last year. Last year 37.923 BCM was available in the reservoirs at this time of the year. Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana are worst hit and have less water compared to last year.

The northern region had shown 29% decline while in the south, the figure was 28% lower than the 10-year average, Hussain said, adding deficient rainfall in the last three-four years was responsible for the drop.

“As there is prediction of a good monsoon, we hope the reservoirs will be filled soon,’’ he said.

The Northern region of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan has less water than the national average. The six reservoirs monitored by the CWC have only 18% of total live storage capacity. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 24% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 26% of live storage capacity.

The eastern region that includes Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura was doing a little better, with reservoirs holding 31% of storage capacity, which is better than 25% average of last ten years. The 22 reservoirs in the western region (Gujarat and Maharastra) were at 20% of their capacity. The 12 reservoirs in the central region — states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh— were at 26%.

The southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were badly hit, with reservoirs at 13% of their storage capacity. The percentage was, however, better than 2017 when the region faced one of the worst droughts, but much less than 18% average of last ten years.

While reservoirs measure the level of surface water, ground water is also showing major depletion. Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), which carries out ground water monitoring four times a year, on regional scale through a network of observation wells in the country found that 61% wells in the country had shown decrease in water.

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