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Monsoon showers bring 50% more water for rabi crops

CHANDIGARH: The rabi crops of wheat, oilseed, pulses and perishables are likely to show higher yields across the country this season due to improved availability of water across 120 key reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission after above normal monsoon rains.

The availability of water for the crucial months of dry winter is 50% more than last year and 40% more than the average of the last ten years due to spurt in rains since August, officials said.

“Widely scattered rains and above normal precipitation during monsoon this year has led to additional availability of water and it will enhance irrigation up to month of May,” Rajendra Kumar Jain, chairman at Central Water Commission (CWC), told ET.

This will ensure adequate drinking water and irrigation in the coming months, he said.

The current live water storage capacity stands at 137.125 billion cubic meters compared to 91.34 bcm a year ago. This is 81% of the total live storage level capacity, 150% of the year-ago level, and 139% of storage of average of last ten years, Jain said.

The water storage in reservoirs is more than the last year in states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Nagaland, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh ,Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Rains have been 40-70% higher than normal in October, November and December in north, south and central parts of the country, as per data of the Indian Meteorological Department.

“Rains have cut need for several rounds of irrigation in this Rabi season,” said a senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley.

Live water storage in reservoirs in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu is 76% of their capacity of 52.8 bcm as of this week, according to CWC. The storage was 48% of capacity a year ago while the 10-year average is 54%.

In 18 reservoirs located in central region states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, water storage is at 83% of total live capacity of 44.1 bcm, against 58% a last year and 59% average in 10 years.

In the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the total live storage available in 41 reservoirs is 30.31 bcm, which is 87% of total live storage capacity of 34.8 bcm. It stood at 42% a year ago while the 10-year average is 56% of live storage capacity.

Only four reservoirs, including Bhakra in the north, and two states — Himachal Pradesh and Tripura — have less water storage than last year, CWC data shows. There are three reservoirs with storage less than or equal to 50% of the average of last ten years.

In eight reservoirs under CWC monitoring in the northern states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, the total live storage available is 13.55 bcm, or 71% of capacity, against 67% of capacity a year ago and 57% of live storage capacity on an average in last 10 years.

In eastern states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura and Nagaland, reservoir storage was recorded at 84% of total capacity of 19.3 bcm. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 64% of capacity while average storage of last ten years was 70%.

Source: Economic Times