The country’s water reserves declined 25% until Wednesday from a year before, while the monsoon deficit eased a tad over the past week to record a 13% fall from the benchmark long-period average (LPA) up to Thursday. Water storage has remained lower than a year before for eight straight weeks now, while monsoon rains have withdrawn from parts of the country.
According to data compiled by the ministry of water resources, storage across 91 reservoirs touched 95.31 billion cubic metres (bcm) up to Wednesday, compared with 126.29 bcm a year earlier and also lower than the benchmark 10-year average of 123.42 bcm. The latest storage level is 60% of the total live capacity of these reservoirs, down from that of 80% a year earlier.
The government this month projected a 2% fall in kharif grain output, although it also targets a 5% rise in rabi production this year to make up for the dip in production of summer-sown crops due to deficient monsoon. The south-west monsoon began retreating from parts of the north-western region on September 4, marking its withdrawal in the current season. Monsoon showers usually take around a month to fully withdraw from the country.
“Normal-to-above-normal rainfall is likely over peninsular India until October 3. Normal-to-above-normal rainfall is also likely over the north-eastern states until September 28,” the India Meteorological Department said in a statement on Thursday.