Worried at the possibility of rivers drying up in the region in future, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has set up a climate control cell, which is looking at the scenarios till 2080. Preliminary studies of catchment areas in Himachal region reveal a positive sign — that precipitation due to rain and snow is actually increasing. Studies in Punjab and Haryana areas will be conducted next.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference, BBMB chairman D K Sharma said, “These studies will be beneficial in ascertaining long term availability of water from BBMB reservoir and also help policy makers plan future land use, cropping patterns and inundation scenarios. The catchment areas of Satluj, Beas and Ravi are being studied.”

“So far, areas of Himachal have been covered and the indications are that precipitation levels will go up. It may lead to increase in temperature but there may not be shortage of water. Trends in Punjab and Haryana will be analysed by the end of the year. These are still preliminary trends and the findings are not concrete,” he said.

The study is yet to come up with its final report. “Initially, we were looking at the climate change impact till year 2020, but then it was decided to look even further,” he said.
A study by experts at the Indian Metrological Department —Seasonal and annual rainfall trends in Himachal Pradesh during 1951-2005 — had found that the annual rainfall and rainy days were showing significantly decreasing trends by -4.58 mm/year and -0.13 days/ year respectively. The average rainfall in the state too had shown significant decrease.

The climate control cell was set up recently to study how long-term rainfall and temperature patterns will determine river runoffs. “Ability of the BBMB projects and reservoirs to meet future irrigation and hydropower requirements of partner states will depend on the inflows into these reservoirs,” said Sharma.

More water to neighbours

Sharma said during the previous year, water to Rajasthan and Haryana had exceeded the share of the two states. Asked about the demand to make Rajasthan a permanent member of the board, he said the decision was to be taken by the ministry of home affairs and that according to the Reorganisation Act, it seemed unlikely.

Source: April 7, 2018, the Times of India