Water Reservoirs: India
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Water fast depleting in south India’s reservoirs
Vishwa Mohan,TNN | May 5, 2014 The Times of India
There’s already a crisis brewing in parts of south India. CWC says the key reservoirs in the region are [in May 2014] at just 16% of total capacity, much below the 10-year average (at the corresponding period) of 21%.
NEW DELHI: The forecast of a weak monsoon in 2014 brought back worries of a water crisis in the country. Water is fast depleting in key reservoirs, and although current levels are significantly higher than normal in most places with the exception of south India, a slow start to the monsoon next month could quickly bring the situation to a head.
The latest update from the Central Water Commission (CWC), which monitors the status of 85 important reservoirs in the country, said 'live' storage in these water bodies was 33% (51.13 billion cubic metre or BCM) of total capacity (155.046 BCM) as on May 1. Thirty of these reservoirs are in south India and these have recorded the maximum dip in storage in the past four months.
It's normal for water bodies to deplete sharply in the pre-monsoon summer months. As a whole, the water level in these reservoirs was 126% of the corresponding period last year and 142% of the average in the past 10 years. But these bodies get mainly recharged by monsoon rains in June to September. If rains are patchy in June and July, the situation could get acute.
There's already a crisis brewing in parts of south India. CWC says the key reservoirs in the region are in May 2014 at just 16% of total capacity, much below the 10-year average (at the corresponding period) of 21%.
According to the commission, all-India storage declined from 61.78 BCM on April 3 to 51.13 BCM on May 1. Besides affecting agricultural production due to poor canal irrigation in certain parts of the country, the declining storage will also impact drinking water supplies and hydro-power generation.
The IMD [in April 2014] said the country may get below average rainfall in 2014 as the probability of a normal monsoon was just 35%, mainly because of a developing El Nino. El Nino, which refers to a periodic warming of the central and east equatorial Pacific waters, happens every four to 12 years and affects weather systems across large parts of the globe.
An El Nino last occurred in 2009, which led to the worst drought in India in nearly four decades, hitting foodgrain production in 2009-10.
Thirty out of 85 reservoirs monitored by CWC are in south India followed by 22 in west, 15 in east, 12 in central and six in northern region of the country.
The important reservoirs of India
Gobind Sagar (Bhakra) and Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh, Thein in Punjab, Rana Pratap Sagar in Rajasthan, Panchet Hill in Jharkhand, Hirakud and Upper Indravati in Odisha, Ukai and Sardar Sarovar in Gujarat, Koyana and Upper Vaitarna in Maharashtra, Rihand in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi Sagar and Indira Sagar in Madhya Pradesh, Nagarjuna Sagar in Andhra Pradesh, Almati and Tungbhadra in Karnataka, Idukki and Periyar in Kerala and Mettur and Sholayar in Tamil Nadu are some of the big reservoirs which are also used to generate hydro-power.