The country’s water storage was 2% higher than a year before until Thursday, but it further bridged its lead over the benchmark 10-year average to 8% from as high as 45% until July 2, mainly as the country witnessed deficient rainfall in July. Still, monsoon showers revived some of its lost vigour in the past few days, narrowing a deficit in rainfall to 4% from the benchmark long-period average (LPA) up to July 30 from 7% until June 23.
According to data compiled by the ministry of water resources, the storage across 91 water reservoirs touched 70.71 billion cubic metres (bcm) up to Thursday, compared with 69.36 bcm a year earlier and the normal 10-year average of 65.39 bcm. The current storage is 45% of the total live capacity of these reservoirs, just over the 44% a year earlier. Last year, widespread dry spells initially had affected water reserves, following a 23% drop in seasonal showers from the LPA between June 1 to July 30.
In the current monsoon season (June-September), the quantum of rainfall has been 425.9 mm until Thursday, down from the LPA for the period of 443.9 mm, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Monsoon showers were 16% above the LPA by the end of June and as high as 28% higher than the LPA by June 25 before it started losing momentum.
Since water reserves are above the normal level and the monsoon rains still in the normal range of 96-104% of the LPA, the sowing activity is unlikely to be hit unless monsoon rains flag significantly in the coming days. Helped by good rainfall last month and water reserves, the sowing of summer crops picked up 26% by July 24 from a year before.
However, risks remain. The Met department has predicted that the rainfall over the country is likely to be 90% of the LPA during in August. The LPA is calculated on the basis of the average annual rainfall recorded between 1951 and 2000 (89 cm) for the the June to September period.