Monsoon bonanza: Reservoirs level more than last year, just below past 10 years’ average

By: | Published: August 4, 2017 3:45 AM

The rise in water levels has allayed the concerns of water deficiency hitting Kharif crop sowing (which is now up 3% from last year), drinking water availability and hydropower.

Widespread monsoon rains, except in a few pockets of southern, western and northern India, have given a boost to the water levels at the country’s 91 key reservoirs. (Image: PTI)

Widespread monsoon rains, except in a few pockets of southern, western and northern India, have given a boost to the water levels at the country’s 91 key reservoirs. According to data released on Thursday by the Central Water Commission (CWC), the average water table in these reservoirs has been more than the level a year ago while it’s marginally below the average of last 10 years during this time of the year. The rise in water levels has allayed the concerns of water deficiency hitting Kharif crop sowing (which is now up 3% from last year), drinking water availability and hydel power. According to CWC data, while 31 reservoirs located in southern states where the water table has reported at 28% of holding capacities against 30 % last year, the overall water table in key reservoirs across the country have been 43% of their capacities. A year back, the average water table was 41 % of their capacities while 10 year average of the water table is 44 % of their capacities.

“The overall storage position is better than the corresponding period of last year in the country as a whole but is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period,” according to a statement by CWC. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cumulative rainfall received till Thursday across the country has been 99% of the LPA. However, the north-west India has received ‘excess’ rainfall of 116% and central India has a share of 104% of LPA. In the case of southern peninsula, the rainfall so far has been 82% of LPA while only in east & north-east regions, there has been ‘below normal’ rainfall at 92% of LPA.

Rainfall in a range of 96-104% of LPA is treated as ‘normal’. LPA rainfall is pegged at 89 cm, on the basis of average between 1951-2000. Out of the 36 sub-divisions in the country, five have received ‘excess’ rainfall while 23 got ‘normal’ rains so far while only eight have received ‘deficient’ rains. In terms of area, 23% of the country falls in ‘excess’ rainfall zone. While 59% received ‘normal’ monsoon this year, 18% of areas fall in ‘deficient’ rainfall zones.

At present, only Kerala, south interior Karnataka, Marathwada, Vidarbha and western Uttar Pradesh have received ‘deficient’ rainfall. In June, the MeT department predicted that monsoon season (June-September) rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 98% of the (LPA) with a model error of ±4%, while the heartening factor is that the showers in July, which has 33% share in overall monsoon rains would be 96% of its LPA while actual rainfall during the month was 102% of LPA.

August which has a share of 29% in overall monsoon rains is expected to receive shower at 99% of LPA. Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. 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.

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