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Water levels in India’s 91 major reservoirs were at 23% of their storage capacity, the government said in a statement on Thursday.
The water level saw a 2 percentage point increase for the week ending 13 July, to 36.108 billion cubic metres (BCM), as compared to these reservoirs being at 21% of their storage capacity for the week ending 6 July. These 91 reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission have a storage capacity of 157.799 BCM accounting for around 62% of India’s total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM.
This comes at a time when June-September south-west monsoon, which waters over half of India’s farms lacking assured irrigation, has covered most of India, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
IMD has forecast normal rains—98% of a 50-year average—across the country this year. India defines average, or normal rainfall as between 96% and 104% of the 50-year average.
The storage level was 19% of the reservoirs’ storage capacity in the eastern region, 26% in the western region, 29% in the central region and 14% of the storage capacity for 31 reservoirs in the southern region, according to the statement.
“States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Tripura, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. State having equal storage than last year for corresponding period is Maharashtra. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (two combined projects in both states), Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu,” the government statement added.
Any dip in reservoir levels may impact electricity generation at reservoir-based thermal power plants. Water is used to generate steam to spin turbines and also as a coolant.
Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 330,260.53 mega watt (MW), 59% or 195,603 MW is fuelled by coal. “Overall rainfall activity is likely to be above normal over India as a whole during next two-week period of 13 to 26 July 2017,” IMD said in a statement on Thursday.
This is good news considering that India faced back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015, which was followed by a normal monsoon in 2016.
“The Southwest monsoon has further advanced into remaining parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir; some more parts of Rajasthan and Haryana and some parts of Punjab on 12th July 2017,” the IMD statement added.
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