(Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

Delayed monsoon could raise worries over water woes, as reservoir level drops

  • The current storage capacity is 20% of their total storage of 161.9 BCM
  • The southwest monsoon is likely to make a delayed onset this year on 6 June

New Delhi: The delayed onset of the south-west monsoon over the Kerala coast could raises worries about the potential water woes in several parts of the country as the water level in 91 major reservoirs had dropped to 20% of the total storage capacity.

According to the latest weekly report by Central Water Commission (CWC), which monitors the storage capacity, the water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on 30 May is 31.65 BCM.

The current storage capacity is 20% of their total storage of 161.9 BCM available in these reservoirs, which has dropped from 21% last week to 20% this on Thursday. It is likely to go down, in view of scanty rains during the next week.

However, the CWC maintained that the current storage is better than last year (27.7 BCM) and average of last ten years which stands at 30.7 BCM. Better storage would be useful for sowing of Rabi crops, sown in the monsoon season starting June.

The southwest monsoon which irrigates over half the agricultural land across the country is likely to make a delayed onset this year on 6 June. In its latest forecast, IMD has said that the rainfall during the four month monsoon season is likely to be normal at 96% of the long-period average (LPA) of 89 cm. It is expected to be sluggish at start, impacting rains in June. Last year, the monsoon had covered the entire country 15 days in advance around 28 June.

“If the monsoon does not gain momentum in initial weeks, it would be worrisome, considering large parts of India are reeling farm distress. Especially, some western and southern region which witnessed droughts after rain deficit last year," said Himanshu Thakkar, Co-ordinator, New Delhi-based South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP).

According to the latest forecast by IMD, the weather is likely to remain dry over most parts of the country over the next few days. The northern states and central India has been reeling under intense heat wave conditions, with maximum temperatures touching 45°C during the day. Vidarbha recorded the highest maximum temperature at 48°C.

Only the north-eastern states and some parts of interior Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are expected to receive rainfall activity and thunderstorms over the next few days. Except for scattered rains in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, north- India would also remain largely dry.

The worries over water woes is aggravated amidst apprehension that the monsoon is likely to be weaker in the first two months of June and July, when weak El Nino conditions are likely to impact the monsoon. According to IMD, the rainfall is likely to be 95% of LPA in July.