THE RAINFALL over the last few days has helped push up the water level at Sukhna. On Friday afternoon, the water in the lake stood at 1,155.60 ft, which officials said was a huge improvement. The ideal level of the lake is considered to be 1,160 feet. But once the water reaches the 1,158 ft mark, chances of the lake drying up in the next summer are low. June this year was Sukhna’s worst month. The water level went down to 1,152 ft, which is considered dangerously low. “Thankfully, it has crossed that alarming level,” said a senior officer of the UT Administration.
Sukhna requires minimum 1,000 mm of rain in the entire monsoon so that the lake bed may not get exposed in the next summer, the official added. This summer, because of the low rainfall last year, dry patches had appeared in the lake. A study of Sukhna Lake’s water level in the last 30 years by the UT Administration had found that the lake had “dried up” every four to five years. The water level of Sukhna had gone below 1,157-1,158 feet several times since 1981.
The status of the lake “drying up” shows in next summer depending on the previous year’s storage of water. Acording to the officials, “dried up” is declared when dry patches prominently appear at most of the places and there is no water in around 50 to 60 per cent of the lake.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken cognisance of the drying Sukhna and constituted a high-powered committee, comprising scientists from the central government and senior officers of the UT Administration, to chalk out alternative solutions of bringing additional water to Sukhna. The authorities have been carrying out the process of desilting as the experts had claimed that silt was reducing Sukhna’s life.