In the middle of monsoon season, Bhakra and Thein dams have recorded not just less storage of water as compared to the same period last year, but also less average storage as compared to that of the last ten years during the corresponding period. The Pong dam however has recorded the same amount of stored water as last year.
Data sourced from the Central Water Commission (CWC), as on July 30, states that the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 6.54 billion cubic metres (BCM), which is 44.33 per cent of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage of water in the three dams during the corresponding period of last year was 54.66 per cent and the average storage of the last ten years during the corresponding period was 48 per cent of the live storage capacity of these reservoirs.
Bhakra Dam, located on the Sutlej river, has shown 18 per cent less water storage this year till July 30, against the same date last year, and also witnessed 5 per cent less water storage than the average of 10 years’ live storage. Like last year, its live storage was 65 per cent against 47 per cent this year and 52 per cent average live storage of the past 10 years.
Thein Dam on the Ravi river in Pathankot district too has shown a decline of 13 per cent in its live storage this year as it was 58 per cent last year against 45 per cent this year, and 4 per cent down from last 10 years’ average of 52 per cent.
Meanwhile, the live storage capacity of Pong Dam, located on the Beas in Talwara, is at par with last year as well as 10 years’ average at 41 per cent each.
This year till date, Punjab has witnessed average normal rain but the major catchment area of these dams falls in Himachal Pradesh.
Till July 30, Bhakra dam was filled up to 492.92 mts against 502.98 mts on August 1, 2019, while the total capacity of it is 512.06 mts. The dam’s level is 509.17 mts against 514.12 mts last year on August 1. The total capacity of the dam is 527.91 mts. Pong dam recorded 407.82 mts against 409.44 meters last year and the total capacity of the dam is 423.67 mts.
These reservoirs irrigate over 10 lakh hectares land in Punjab. Moreover, the water also goes to Rajasthan and Haryana, where lakhs of hectares are being irrigated. Besides, they are running 2375 Mega Watt (MW) hydel projects which are also running almost full capacity.
A Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) official said that this year, the reservoirs may not be filled as much as compared to last year, but it is better than several other years in the past decade.
This monsoon season, out of 22 districts, 8 districts of Punjab are facing deficit rain while the state has overall recorded 244.2 mm rain as against 242 mm till date.
Sources in the BBMB said that this year till date, around 28 per cent less rain was recorded in Himachal Pradesh, which is the major catchment area of the Pong and Bhakra dams and snow cover mapping is also marginally less in Himachal since October last year till May this year. Fifty per cent of the Sutlej river basin is comprised of snowmelt in the river system.
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