Bhakra water level low, Punjab stares at paddy-sowing crisis

Worrisome: Water released from Bhakra is considered as lifeline of Malwa belt in Punjab.
(File photo of the Bhakra-Nangal dam before the decline in reservoir level.)
(File photo of the Bhakra-Nangal dam before the decline in reservoir level.)
Updated on May 28, 2018 09:21 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Patiala | By

With the Bhakra reservoir level going below 1,500 feet in May, nearly 50 feet lower than the same time last year, the states of Punjab and Rajasthan are staring at an irrigation crisis during the paddy-sowing season.

More worrying is the decline in water inflow since melting of snow in the glaciers is almost half of the normal this year. The water level at Bhakra on Saturday was recorded at 1,495 feet against 1,545 feet on the corresponding day in 2017.

In the Ranjit Sagar dam, the water level is 1,636.6 feet, against 1,685 feet the same day last year.

Water released from Bhakra is considered the lifeline of the Malwa belt in Punjab and many parts of Rajasthan.

The dam has the minimum drawdown level of 1,462 feet against which present level is 1,495, while the reservoir level is reducing by about 0.7 foot every day.

From May 20 to 25, the Bhakra level receded by 6 feet, while the same increased from 1539.33 feet to 15.44.9 feet (by 5.57 feet) last year. This shows the severity of problem that the reservoir is not getting dequate inflow of water.

“The less water inflow at Bhakra in May is due to less snowmelt which in turn depends on how much snowfall occurs on high reaches during winters.

During the 2017-18 winter, there was 50 per cent of the last year’s snowfall. This estimate was prepared on the basis of satellite images by the National Remote Sensing Agency,” said an official not authorised to speak to the media.

He said if rain does not occur in the catchment area and inflow due to snowmelt decreases, Bhakra will not have the cushion of storage available to meet paddy irrigation requirement and the farmers will have to depend on the monsoon.

The situation of other reservoirs/dams is no different as their water level has also gone down.

The Bhakra and Beas Management Board (BBMB) has already asked Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to use water judiciously.

“On Tuesday (May 29), the BBMB technical committee in a meeting will take a decision on the reservoir operation and irrigation needs of the state next month,” said an official.

Storage of 6 northern reservoirs down

In the northern region comprising Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, the Central Water Commission (CWC) monitors six reservoirs which have a total live storage capacity of 18.01 billion cubic metres (BCM).

As per a reservoir storage bulletin on May 24, 2017, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 2.7 BCM which is 15% of their total capacity.

The storage during the corresponding period last year was 24% and average storage of last 10 years during the same period was 26% of their live storage capacity.

Thus, storage this time is less than the corresponding period last year and also the average storage of last 10 years.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A principal correspondent, Vishal Rambani is the bureau chief at Patiala. He covers politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues, with several investigative stories to his credit.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Five packets containing heroin were recovered from a field in the border village of Araiyan Hithar in Ferozepur.

    Drone airdrops 3.5-kg heroin in Ferozepur border village

    The Ferozepur police in a joint operation with the Border Security Force recovered five packets containing 3.5 kilograms of heroin, which were allegedly airdropped by a drone, in the wee hours of Thursday. The SSP said BSF personnel of the 136 Battalion noticed a drone in the area under Maboke border outpost late at night. They fired at the aerial device, but it managed to return to the Pakistan territory after dropping some material.

  • Former CM Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government decided to shift the metro depot out of Aarey colony, following protests by activists against construction in one of few remaining green spots in Mumbai.

    Devendra Fadnavis orders shifting of metro car shed project back to Aarey Colony

    The Maharashtra government and the Centre were engaged in a battle over the proposed car depot plot in Kanjurmarg, thus delaying the 33-km underground metro project. Former CM Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government decided to shift the metro depot out of Aarey colony, following protests by activists against construction in one of few remaining green spots in Mumbai.

  • Under construction Ram Mandir in Ayodhya (Photo by Ravinder Singh/ HH Ayodhya)

    For better pilgrim facilities: Ram Mandir Trust to study models of prominent temples

    Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust is studying management of prominent temples across the country to make sure it provides better facilities to devotees who come to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. A team constituted by the Trust will study temple management systems of prominent temples including Golden temple, Tirupati Balaji, Vaishno Devi, Jagannath Puri and other temples of south India.

  •  (Pic for representation)

    June 10 violence: Prayagraj cops likely to question two ex-MLAs who were in touch with Javed

    The police may soon question two former members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) after scanning the call details of Javed Mohd aka Javed Pump, the alleged key facilitator of the June 10 Atala violence. Javed was arrested by the police the very next day of the incident. Police officials said apart from political persons and MLAs, Javed's call records show that he also spoke to some traders, social activists and other individuals.

  • Family members of Sawinder Singh, who was killed in the Kabul gurdwara attack, break down after receiving his ashes at the IGI Airport in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

    Afghan Sikhs arrive in Delhi with ashes of man killed in Kabul gurdwara attack

    A special flight ferrying a group of 11 Afghan Sikhs arrived at New Delhi from Kabul on Thursday. Besides Raghbir Singh, who was injured in the Karte Parwan Gurdwara attack in Kabul on June 18, the Afghan carrier Kam Air flight was ferrying the ashes of Sawinder Singh, who was killed in the terror attack. Sawinder Singh ran a “paan” shop in Kabul and lived in the gurdwara.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022