Despite the scorching heatwaves across large parts of the country, average water levels in 140 major reservoirs in the country are up 6% on year, Central Water Commission (CWC) has said, allaying fears of water scarcity hitting agriculture crops. However, reservoir water levels were down 8% on year each in eastern and western parts of the country.
The comfortable water reservoir levels augurs well for forthcoming kharif crops such as paddy, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals. Monsoon rains are expected to arrive at Kerala coast on May 27, three days ahead of “normal date”, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Also, the rainfalls are predicted to be “normal” for the fourth year in a row.
Water reservoirs are filled with 56.87 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, which is about 32% of their combined capacity. A year ago, the water available in these reservoirs was 53.54 BCM and the average of the last 10 years was 44.41 BCM, according to the latest CWC note.
“Current water level of reservoirs was 106% of the live storage of the corresponding period of last year and 128% of storage of the average of last ten years,” the commission stated.
In terms of regional variations in water levels, 25 reservoirs of the central region – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and 39 reservoirs in the southern region – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have more water than last year and average of last 10 years.
However, the water level of 21 reservoirs in eastern region – Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland and Bihar is currently lower than a year ago and the average of the last 10 years. In 46 reservoirs in western region – Gujarat and Maharashtra, water level at present is less than the corresponding period last year, higher than the average storage of last decade.
Nine reservoirs in the northern region – Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan have more water at present compared to last year, but water level is less than last 10 year’s average.
Officials said that water level at reservoirs is set to rise in the coming months as IMD had stated that India would receive a ‘normal’ monsoon (June-September) at 99% of the benchmark long period average (LPA), with a model error of +/- 5%. If the forecast comes true, the country will receive normal rainfall from the annual phenomenon for the fourth year in a row.
Meanwhile, private weather forecasting agency Skymet has stated that monsoon would hit Kerala coast on May 26.
India’s foodgrain production will rise 1.2% on year to a new record of 314.51 million tonne (MT) for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), according to the third advance estimate released by the agriculture ministry released last week.
The low water levels in western and eastern India reservoirs could have some impact on pulses, oil seeds (west) and paddy output (east).