Deficient monsoon: Reservoir water down to 40% in region
› 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.
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.