Despite scorching heat across much of the country, the average water level in the country’s 140 major reservoirs has risen by 6% a year, the Central Water Commission (CWC) said, adding that water shortages offset the risk of crop damage. However, in the eastern and western parts of the country, the water level in reservoirs has decreased by 8% every year.
Comfortable reservoir level is good for upcoming kharif crops like paddy, pulses, oilseeds and coarse grains. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), monsoon rains are expected on the coast of Kerala on May 27, three days before the “normal date”. Rainfall is also forecast to be “normal” for the fourth year in a row
Reservoirs fill 56.87 billion cubic meters (BCM) of water, which is about 32% of their combined capacity. One year ago, the water available in these reservoirs was 53.54 BCM and the average for the last 10 years was 44.41 BCM, according to the latest CWC notes.
The current water level in the reservoir was 106% of live storage during the same period last year and 128% of the average storage for the last ten years, the commission said.
In terms of regional changes in water levels, 25 reservoirs in the central region – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and 39 reservoirs in the south – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have more water than last year. And the average of the last 10 years.
However, the water levels of 21 reservoirs in the eastern region – Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland and Bihar are now lower than a year ago and average for the last 10 years. Of the 46 reservoirs in the western region – Gujarat and Maharashtra, the current water level is lower than the same period last year, higher than the average storage of the last decade.
Nine reservoirs in the north – Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan – have more water than last year, but the water level is lower than the 10-year average.
Officials say water levels in reservoirs are set to rise in the coming months as the IMD says India will receive a ‘normal’ rainfall (June-September) of 99% of the benchmark long-term average (LPA), +/- 5% with model errors. If the forecast is true, the country will receive normal rainfall for the fourth year in a row from annual events.
Meanwhile, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said rains would hit the Kerala coast on May 26.
According to the third advance estimate released by the Ministry of Agriculture last week, India’s food grain production will increase by 1.2% year-on-year, reaching a new record of 314.51 million tonnes (MT) for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June).
Lower water levels in reservoirs in western and eastern India may have some effect on pulses, oilseeds (west) and paddy production (east).