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State of reservoirs better this year, thanks to unseasonal rains

Latest data show more than normal storage, good sign in a dodgy monsoon year.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: June 2, 2015 3:46:07 pm
monsoon, monsoon india, india monsoon, india reservoirs, india reservoir water levels, water level of indian reservoirs, march monsoon india, india march 2015 rains, india rainy season, india weather, wather news, india news, indian express, #ExpressExplained The main reservoirs of the country currently contain 35 per cent more than what is expected at this time of the year due to the unseasonal monsoon in March.

Thanks to the unseasonal rain in March, the main reservoirs of the country currently contain above-average water levels, filled 35 per cent more than what is expected at this time of the year.

READ: India downgrades monsoon forecast from 93 to 88 per cent, stokes drought fears

The 91 major reservoirs, monitored on a regular basis by the Central Water Commission, together have about 45 billion cubic metres of water in them, which is about 28 per cent of the total capacity of these reservoirs. At this time of the year, these reservoirs together are expected to be filled up to 21 per cent of their total capacity, the average of the last ten years.

(Graphic: Mithun Chakraborty) (Graphic: Mithun Chakraborty)

This year’s storage levels are almost the same as that of last year at this time.

Healthy water levels in the reservoirs are crucial in a year in which the monsoon is predicted to be below normal. The Met department had last month said that India was expected to receive only 93 per cent of normal rainfall during the four-month season from June to September.

The water in the reservoirs are used not just for irrigation or drawing power, but also for drinking in several states.

Authorities regulate the usage of water in such a way that reservoirs get filled near to their full capacities by the end of the monsoon season in September. How much rain water flows into the reservoir depends not only on the amount of rainfall but also whether rain has taken place in the catchment areas.

(Graphic: Mithun Chakraborty) (Graphic: Mithun Chakraborty)

Of the 91 reservoirs, 67 currently have water up to more than 80 per cent of their normal levels. Another 10 have water between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of their normal storage.

As of now, reservoirs in the north, east and central India are in a better position than those in the south. The six reservoirs of the northern region are filled up to 42 per cent of their total capacity as compared to the 10-year average of 28 per cent. Similarly, the 15 reservoirs in eastern India are currently filled up to 36 per cent of their total capacity against the average of 20 per cent.

The reservoirs in the basins of the Ganga, Indus, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, rivers of Kutch, and west-flowing rivers of south India all have more water than normal. Tapi and Cauvery, and the east-flowing rivers of the south, too are close to normal. Only the reservoirs in the basins of the Sabarmati and Krishna rivers are deficient.

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