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Flood in Some States, Dry Reservoirs in Others. What Does Disproportionate Monsoon Mean for India?

After a delayed arrival, the Southwest Monsoon covered the entire country on July 19. However, the country has recorded a 19% deficit rainfall since June 1.

Akash Gulankar | News18.com

Updated:July 24, 2019, 6:00 PM IST
Flood in Some States, Dry Reservoirs in Others. What Does Disproportionate Monsoon Mean for India?
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com

New Delhi: Even as states like Bihar and Assam are submerged in floods, there are several others across the country which are reeling under drought-like situation owing to a significant rainfall 'deficit'. As per the Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) latest update on Southwest monsoon, the country has recorded an overall 19% deficit in rainfall between June 1 and July 23. This has led to further depletion of water levels across 91 reservoirs amid acute water shortage.

According to the Central Water Commission, which monitors the reservoirs, the overall live storage was 39.32 billion cubic metres (BCM) as of July 18 that is 24% of the total live storage capacity – 161.993 BCM – of these reservoirs.

Further, the present live storage available in the reservoirs is 76% of the live storage capacity of 51.54 BCM recorded for the corresponding period last year.

Maharashtra, which has the highest number of reservoirs at 17, has a live storage of 2.78 BCM or 20 per cent of the total live capacity of 14.08 BCM. Incidentally, Maharashtra is one of the few states which have received a normal rainfall this season.

Moreover, four of the seven reservoirs – Yeldari, Bhima, Jayakwadi, Pench, Nagarjuna Sagar, Aliyar and Sholayar – with 'zero' live storage are in Maharashtra. Yeldari, Bhima, Jayakwadi and Pench cater to Marathwada and Vidarbha, a region prone to droughts. Both these regions have recorded less than normal rainfall this year with 32 and 40 per cent of rainfall deficit, respectively.

Together with Gujarat, the 27 reservoirs in the Western region have a live storage of 18 per cent, a decline of 9 percentage points over the same period last year and 7 percentage points from the ten-year average.

Only the northern region which consists of six reservoirs in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have exceeded the ten-year average by 10 percentage points, which currently has 45 per cent of live storage at 8.04 BCM. All the other regions including Eastern, Western, Central and Southern region have below-average storage.

However, 50 of the 91 reservoirs (55 per cent) are reported to have a below normal storage. Of these, 34 have up to half of the average storage.

After a delayed arrival, the Southwest Monsoon covered the entire country on July 19, the IMD reported. However, the country has recorded a 19 per cent deficit rainfall this season since June 1. The IMD has recorded the rainfall of 304.5 mm against the normal 375.3 mm at this time of the year. With the monsoon season halfway through, nearly half of the states still remain parched due to deficient rainfall.

All the eastern coastal states, including Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, have recorded an average of 30 per cent rainfall deficit this season. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab along with all northeastern states, barring Nagaland and Manipur, have recorded normal rainfall till July 23. States like Gujrat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have also witnessed fewer rains and the deficit in these state ranges from 20 to over 40 per cent.

With several regions receiving deficient rainfall, IMD is hoping the rainfall activity in the country to rise to a normal and above normal level in this week and might help balance the respective deficits.

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| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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