Monsoon is finally over in north India for this year, with the withdrawal being on a deficient note and nearly half-empty dams. While rain during the prolonged season was deficient in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, it was noticeably surplus in Haryana.

“Southwest monsoon has further withdrawn from some more parts of Gujarat, some parts of Madhya Pradesh, most parts of Rajasthan, entire Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal  Pradesh, Uttarakhand and some parts of Uttar Pradesh on Friday,” a statement issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) read.

An analysis of data compiled by IMD from June 1, 2021 to October 8, 2021 reveals that while rain was surplus by 31.3 per cent in Haryana, it was below the long-period average by 4.2 per cent in Punjab and 9.4 per cent in Himachal.

During the aforementioned period, Haryana had received 580.9 mm rain against the normal of 442.4 mm, whereas Punjab and Himachal received 450.2 mm and 698.3 mm, respectively against the normal of 470.1 and 771.1 mm, respectively.

Monsoon had progressed in fits and starts this year. The region had experienced unseasonal heavy rains in mid-June followed with periodic weakening of the monsoon and long dry periods. Due to climatic developments, the monsoon season over the region also got extended by over a fortnight.

The situation at major dams in the region is not very good, with the storage level in reservoirs being nowhere near their full capacity or even the average storage of the past 10 years.

According to information released by the Central Water Commission (CWC) on October 7, the current storage at Thein Dam on the Ravi in Punjab is just 43 per cent of its total capacity as compared to the 10-year average of 73 per cent.

Pong Dam, which lies on the Beas in Himachal has filled up to 55 per cent of its total capacity this year as compared to the 10-year average of 84 per cent. The situation at Bhakra Dam on the Sutlej is a little better, with the current storage being 69 per cent as compared to the 10-year average of 85 per cent.

The filling season of dams in the region officially lasts up to September 30 when the rains normally end and falling temperature affects snow melt, thereby reducing inflows. Low storage level in dams will have an impact on water availability in summer next year.

Source: 09 October, 2021, The Tribune