De­fi­cient mon­soon: Reser­voir wa­ter down to 40% in re­gion

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Punjab - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.com

› It’s an un­usual trend, which was ear­lier wit­nessed in 2004. States needs to con­serve wa­ter. If the sit­u­a­tion doesn’t im­prove, the BBMB will call a meet­ing of part­ner states to cur­tail supply.

A STATE GOVT OF­FI­CIAL

PA­TIALA : With wa­ter level in reser­voirs of the re­gion at a lower level than that recorded last year due to de­fi­cient mon­soon in catch­ment ar­eas, the Bhakra Beas Man­age­ment Board (BBMB) is con­sid­er­ing to re­strict wa­ter supply to states in com­ing days.

Last week, the board asked its part­ner states — Pun­jab, Haryana, Hi­machal Pradesh (HP) and Ra­jasthan — to utilise mon­soon wa­ter to the max­i­mum ex­tent in or­der to min­imise re­lease from the Bhakra and Pong reser­voirs and con­serve the wa­ter for use later on.

At present, reser­voir level of the Bhakra (on the Sut­lej in HP), Pong (on the Beas in HP) and Ran­jit Sa­gar (on the Ravi in Pun­jab) dams is lower by 60 feet, 42 feet and 34 feet, re­spec­tively, than the level on the cor­re­spond­ing day last year.

At the Tehri (on the Bha­gi­rathi in Ut­tarak­hand), it is lower by 11 feet.

The north­ern states have six reser­voirs un­der the Cen­tral Wa­ter Com­mis­sion with to­tal live stor­age ca­pac­ity of 18.01 bil­lion cu­bic me­tre (BCM).

How­ever, at present these reser­voirs have only 7.27 BCM wa­ter, which is 40% of the to­tal ca­pac­ity. Last year, it was 75%.

At the Gobind Sa­gar reser­voir of Bhakra, wa­ter level on Fri­day was 1592.97 feet against the last year’s level of 1652.95 feet, while at Pong, it was 1332.15 feet against the last year’s 1374.17 feet.

Both these dams and power houses are un­der the con­trol of BBMB. At Ran­jit Sa­gar, the wa­ter level was 1628.38 feet against the last year’s level of 1716.46 feet on the cor­re­spond­ing day.

‘UN­USUAL TREND’

The BBMB ap­prised the states of low stor­age in Bhakra and Pong reser­voirs and in­formed them about 11% de­fi­cient mon­soon in the catch­ment area of Sut­lej and Beas rivers in Hi­machal Pradesh and nor­mal rains in Pun­jab and Haryana.

The BBMB has also asked the Pun­jab ir­ri­ga­tion de­part­ment to di­rect its field staff to use rain­wa­ter op­ti­mally so that reser­voir wa­ter can be con­served for use dur­ing the de­ple­tion pe­riod, start­ing Septem­ber 21.

Con­sid­er­ing the crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, the BBMB is closely mon­i­tor­ing wa­ter level in both reser­voirs and the present trend of in­flows and re­leases from the dams is be­ing de­cided on day-to­day ba­sis af­ter ac­count­ing for the ad­di­tional run-off gen­er­ated at the Ropar and Harike head­works.

“It’s an un­usual trend, which was ear­lier wit­nessed in 2004. States needs to con­serve wa­ter. The me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal de­part­ment has pre­dicted more rains in catch­ment ar­eas. How­ever, if the sit­u­a­tion doesn’t im­prove, the BBMB will call a meet­ing of part­ner states to cur­tail wa­ter supply,” said an of­fi­cial, privy to the de­vel­op­ment.

Mean­while, due to lower wa­ter level, power gen­er­a­tion has also dipped in BBMB power plants.

“This year, we have re­ceived lesser power from the BBMB as it is con­serv­ing wa­ter due to lower level in dams,” said SK Puri, di­rec­tor (gen­er­a­tion), Pun­jab State Power Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited.

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