Less than two weeks prior to anticipated arrival of south-west monsoon over Kerala coast, the water level at the country’s key 91 large reservoirs on Thursday has been higher than that of last year as well as the average of last ten years. According to data released by the Central Water Commission (CWC), with the exception of 31 reservoirs located in southern states where water table had plummeted to only 8% of their capacities, the overall water table in key reservoirs have been 23% of their capacities.
A year back the average water table was only 18% of their capacities in key reservoirs while 10 year average of the water table is 22% 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. India Meteorological Department (IMD) earlier had stated that the southwest monsoon (June-September) is likely to set over Kerala coast on May 30 with a model error of ± 4 days. Monsoon usually arrives over Kerala in the first week of June, then covers rest of the country during next one month or so.
IMD director general K J Ramesh recently told FE that the Met department stands by first monsoon forecast released last month where 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.
Normal monsoon last year helps water reserves position
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 would likely to result in ‘good distribution of rainfall across the country’.
Subsequently the Australian Bureau of Meteorology stated that prospects of a strong El Nino developing in the Equatorial Pacific have receded. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.