Water storage in reservoirs of most states in west and south India has dipped to less than the average of last 10 years, the Central Water Commission said, indicating a worsening water crisis in these parts of the country. According to the commission, the water level in 91 major reservoirs in the country in the week ending May 30 was one percentage point down compared to the week before. “The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 30, 2019, was 31.65 billion cubic meters, which is 20 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 21 per cent for the week ending on May 23, 2019,” the Central Water Commission (CWC) said.
Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have better storage than last year while the water in storage in Karnataka is similar to what it was in the corresponding period last year. “States having lesser storage than last year for the corresponding period are Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala,” the CWC said. In western region, which includes Gujarat and Maharashtra, there are 27 major reservoirs with total live storage capacity of 31.26 billion cubic metres (BCM). “The total live storage available in these (western region) reservoirs is 3.53 BCM which is 11 per cent of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs.
The storage during the corresponding period last year was 15 per cent and the average storage of the corresponding period in last 10 years was 19 per cent of its live storage capacity. “Thus, water storage during the current year is less than the storage of last year and is also less than the average storage of last 10 years during the corresponding period,” the CWC said. In southern region, which includes Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, 31 reservoirs are under CWC monitoring with a total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM.
The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.91 BCM which is 11 per cent of its total live storage capacity. The storage during the corresponding period of last year was 12 per cent and average storage of last 10 years during the same period was 15 per cent of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. “Thus, the storage (in souther region) during the current year is less than last year and also less than the average storage of last 10 years during the corresponding period,” the CWC said.
Last year, several parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra received deficient monsoon showers. The situation is particularly grim in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra where water level in reservoirs have dipped to an all-time low. Private weather forecaster Skymet, in its region-wise prediction last month, said this year, rainfall in Vidarbha, Marathwada, west Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be “poorer than normal” while southern India is expected to receive below normal rainfall.