The Water Resources Ministry is on tenterhooks on account of its Central Water Commission’s fresh study pointing to a continuous decline in the water level in country’s 91 major reservoirs. Though several parts of the country received sporadic rain this week, the measurement for the week ending May 26 said the water level in various reservoirs had dipped to disturbingly low levels.

As per the study, the water level in these reservoirs is 26.816 BCM, which is 17 per cent of their total storage capacity. The level was 55 per cent of the storage during the corresponding period last year and 79 per cent of the average for the past 10 years.

The total storage capacity of the reservoirs is 157.799 BCM, which is about 62 per cent of total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM estimated to have been created in the country. Ministry sources said the trend was grave in context of 37 of these reservoirs.

The states in the northern region in which six of these reservoirs are located include Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. These have total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM, but the storage availability as per the latest study is only 3.91 BCM, which is 22 per cent of their total live storage capacity.

The storage during the corresponding period last year was 43 per cent, while the average storage for the past 10 years during this period was 29 per cent. Thus, the storage during the current year is less than that during the corresponding period last year and the average storage for the past 10 years.

Similar is the trend in the reservoirs across the remaining regions: Eastern, Western, Central and Southern. The fall in the storage level is being attributed to the weak monsoon over the past consecutive three years. The situation has aggravated this year due to early and intense summer.

Source: May 30, 2016, The Tribune