A view of a flooded road after Monsoon rains in Kochi.
A view of a flooded road after Monsoon rains in Kochi.

Water-level in reservoirs dips to 18%, as monsoon rainfall deficit widens

  • With the cyclone drifting away from the Gujarat coast, the slow pace of monsoon has raised concerns
  • The situation is grim especially in the western regions covering Gujarat and Maharashtra

New Delhi: The tardy progress of the monsoon has raised worries over the prevailing drought situation in several states, with the overall monsoon rainfall deficiency increasing to 43% across the country.

The south-west monsoon which made a delayed onset over the Kerala coast on 8 June has been advancing at a sluggish pace over the mainland. It lost its momentum to Cyclone Vayu whose formation in the Arabian Sea coincided with its onset and ended up draining it off the moisture content.

With the cyclone drifting away from the Gujarat coast and subsequently losing its strength, the slow pace of monsoon has raised concerns. As per the latest update, it is yet to mark its arrival in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Odisha which continue to reel under deficient rains.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), as many as 16 sub-divisions including Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu are witnessing deficient rains of over 20%. While as many as 12 sub-divisions including drought-ridden Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh which are facing large deficiency of over 60%.

Only five sub-divisions - Karnataka, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura have received normal rains until June 16. Delhi has been the only sub-division to have recorded no rains this monsoon season so far, with a deficiency of 100%.

While the rains remain scarce, the water levels in 91 CWC monitored reservoirs of the country has also gone down. As per the latest report from the Central Water Commission (CWC), the live storage available in these reservoirs has gone down to 18% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs and stands at 29.189 BCM. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs is 161.993 BCM.

This may not bear well for the farmers who had to delay the sowing of the Kharif crops due to the delayed arrival of the monsoon and are dependent on it. The concerns are high, more so because the monsoon is not expected to augur well in the first two months- June and July.

The situation is grim especially in the western regions covering Gujarat and Maharashtra, where the total storage available is only 10% of the total live storage available and is far less than corresponding period last year. The 31 reservoirs in the southern states have also recorded lesser water levels as compared to last year.

With weak El Nino conditions still casting a shadow on the monsoon, there is a high probability that the rainfall may end up below normal for July as well. As per IMD’s forecast, it could be 95% of the long-period average of 89 cm, which is below normal for July, when monsoon is expected to cover the entire country.

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