The three reservoirs at Bhakra, Pong and Ranjit Sagar dams in the region remained far short of the water level than the maximum storage capacity even as the four months of the rainy season, considered to be the filling period, have ended. The deficit rain in the catchment area virtually made it impossible for the water level to reach up to the maximum level. The filling period of the Bhakra and Pong reservoirs starts from May 21 and June 21, respectively, and ends on September 20. At Bhakra Dam with a maximum storage capacity of 1,680 feet in its Gobind Sagar Lake, the water level was recorded at 1,650.38 feet only. It is over 26 feet lesser than the level recorded the same day last year (1,676.72 feet). This is the lowest water level in the reservoir this decade. Earlier in this decade on the end of the filling season, the lowest level was recorded at 1,655.83 feet on September 21, 2011. At Pong Dam with a storage capacity up to 1,390 feet, the water level was recorded at 1,369.31 feet against 1,380.95 feet recorded last year. The water level at the Ranjit Sagar Dam, also known as the Thein Dam, was recorded as 519.80 m against 511.16 m last year. Bhakra Beas Management Board chairman SK Sharma when contacted said, “Rains were about 20 per cent deficient in the catchment area this season. Besides, the water level was reduced at the Pong Dam for conducting a low-level inspection of the dam and all partner states would get substantial water supply for irrigation.” State’s monsoon deficit at 25%

Source: September 22, 2016, The Tribune