While the southwest monsoon is set to hit Kerala coast in a few weeks, the water level at the country’s key 91 large reservoirs on Thursday is more than last year as well as average of last ten years. According to data released by the Central Water Commission (CWC), with the exception 31 reservoirs located in southern states, where water table had plummeted to only 8% of their capacities, overall water table in key reservoirs has been 24% of their capacities.
“The overall storage position is better than the corresponding period of last year in the country as a whole and is also better than the average storage of last ten years,” CWC said in a statement. A year ago, the average water table was only 19% of their capacities in key reservoirs while the 10-year average of water table is 23% of their capacities.
Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said that ‘conditions are becoming favourable for the likely advance of the southwest monsoon over South Andaman sea and Nicobar Islands by around 15th May 2017. Usually, after entering Andaman sea, it takes about 10 days for the monsoon to arrive at the Kerala coast.
IMD director general K J Ramesh told FE that the met department stands by its first monsoon forecast released last month in which it had predicted ‘normal’ rainfall this year at 96% of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5%. IMD will release the second forecast for the season in the first week of June.
Ramesh had stated that ‘there is a relatively moderate possibility’ of El Nino conditions, which adversely impacts progress of monsoon rains, developing during second half of the monsoon months (June-September) and neutral conditions of Indian Ocean Dipole are likely to result in ‘good distribution of rainfall across the country’.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, meanwhile, has stated that prospects of a strong El Nino developing in the Equatorial Pacific have receded. Experts say that a normal monsoon is expected to give boost to agricultural production as majority of farm land are rain fed and will boost water reservoirs levels leading to an improvement in the supplies of drinking water and higher hydel output.
Last year, the IMD had made an initial forecast of ‘above normal’ rainfall of 106% of LPA, but the actual cumulative rainfall was 97 of the LPA, which falls in ‘normal’ category. Because of normal rainfall, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than last the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 and 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.