The average water level in 143 major reservoirs in the country is up 9% on year, and 16% more than the last 10 years’ average, the Central Water Commission (CWC) said in its latest report on Friday.
With the beginning of rabi or winter crops’ sowing, higher water levels would help in providing irrigation to farm land. About 48% of the agricultural land in the country is irrigated.
Of 143 reservoirs whose water levels monitored by the CWC, 112 are located in the west, central and southern regions, which have received more than normal rainfall so far in this monsoon.
Water reservoirs are filled with 158 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, 89% of their combined capacity. A year ago, the water available in the reservoirs was 146 BCM, and the average of the last 10 years was 136 BCM, according to the latest CWC note. “Current water level of reservoirs was 109% of the live storage of the corresponding period of last year and 116% of storage of the average of last 10 years,” the CWC stated.
A higher water table in reservoirs helps in meeting the requirement for irrigation through canal systems. Of these reservoirs, 46 generate hydropower with an installed capacity of more than 60 MW.
In terms of regional variations in water levels, 26 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 the average of the last 10 years.
The water level of 21 reservoirs in the eastern region — Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland and Bihar — is higher than a year ago; but the current water level is lower than the average of the last 10 years. In 46 reservoirs in the western region — Gujarat and Maharashtra — the water level now is higher than during the corresponding period last year, as well as the average storage of the last decade. Similarly, 10 reservoirs in the northern region, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, have more water at present compared to last year and last the 10 years’ average.
India’s monsoon rainfall was 6.5% higher than normal in the June-September season, as excessive precipitation in the central and southern areas offset deficits in the eastern and northern states, the India Meteorological Department had said.
The rainfall deficiency in the east and northeast has been 18% against the benchmark long-period average, while central India, the southern peninsula and the northwest regions have received 19%, 22% and 1% more rainfall than the LPA.