New Delhi: Weak monsoon rains have forced almost all hydropower plants in India to operate at less than 40% capacity, threatening to widen the country’s power deficit, top government officials said on Tuesday.
India saw the driest June in 83 years, followed by subnormal rainfall in the first week of July, reducing water level at its biggest reservoirs and hitting sowing activity of key crops.
“We have hit the rock-bottom level for water tanks. Almost all projects are running at less than 40% capacity,” power secretary Hari Shankar Brahma told reporters.
Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said India already faced a power shortage of 15,000-20,000 megawatts.
He said the government had ensured higher supply of electricity to Punjab and Haryana states, the key grain producing regions, to help irrigation.
“They have the water but they don’t have the power,” he said.
Hydropower accounts for one quarter of India’s total power generation of 149,400 megawatts.
“If the monsoons do not improve now, we will be worried,” he said.