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Friday, 3 June 2016

Water in major reservoirs at less than 17 per cent of combined capacity

NEW DELHI: Water level in India's 91 major reservoirs fell to less than 19% of their combined capacity on Thursday, compared to 21% a fortnight ago and well short of the 10-year average, the Central Water Commission said. Seven reservoirs, most of them in Maharashtra, did not have any water. However, with the onset of the pre-monsoon rains across south and northeast India, the scenario could improve, according to the commission. The 91major reservoirs held 29.455 billion cubic metres of water on Thursday, compared to 48.92 bcm a year ago. The 10-year average is 37.87 bcm. "Seven reservoirs don't have any water while 22 reservoirs have less than 10% of their total capacity. People have become alert and started using water judiciously, so there is nothing much to worry now," said GS Jha, chairman of the Central Water Commission. Jha said that water scarcity arises from poor water management. "Now that states are taking action on conserving water and giving priority to drinking water, the situation is better," he said. Further, pre-monsoon rains over south Maharashtra and parts of Marathwada BSE 0.00 % have eased the situation, Jha said. 
"The met department has forecast more than normal rainfall this monsoon season and with planting of kharif to begin in mid-June, we have time for the reservoirs to fill up," he said. The commission said that the most deficient river basin was the Krishna, which caters to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The water level in Indus river basin flowing through Jammu and Kashmir, and Tapi river basin, originating in Madhya Pradesh and flowing to Maharashtra and Gujarat, was also below average. Similar was the case with the Mahi, Godavari and Cauvery basins. 

However, Kutch BSE 4.96 %, Mahanadi, Ganga, Sabarmati and Narmada rivers had normal water in the basin. For the past eight weeks, reservoirs from Nagarjuna Sagar, Bhima (Ujjani), Jayakwadi and Girna have had no water. 
In the past two weeks, the Yeldari, along with Kabani and Sholayam reservoirs, have also dried up. However, in Ukai dam, the largest reservoir in Gujarat, the water level was at half of its normal capacity, the commission said. 
The commission, which monitors water level in major reservoirs across the country, has issued an advisory for state governments on judicious use of water for irrigation, drinking and industrial purposes. India has a capacity to store 253.388 bcm of water and it is augmenting the capacity. 

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