Water crisis could occur in some parts of the country
In Gujarat, if state governments don't plan for judicious use of water available in reservoirs, officials from the Central Water Commission(CWC) have warned.
In the coming month, low reservoir levels can delay planting of pulses, cotton, paddy and millets in western and central states where water levels have fallen, they said.
"In the current situation, there is deficient water in reservoirs — 11% less than a year ago and 9% less as per the 10-year average. As in the past, we will be sending advisories to state governments to plan for judicious utilisation of water from reservoirs," said S Masood Husain, chairman of CWC, which monitors the country's water situation.Husain said Gujarat is facing a crisis. "The water level in Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat is very less owing to poor rains in the previous year and less inflows. The Narmada Control Authority has allowed the state to draw water from the reservoir, which is at minimum draw down level (the level below which the reservoir will not be drawn down so as to maintain a minimum head required in power projects)," said Husain.
The water levels in reservoirs of central India, including the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, are not good, the officials said, but added that Madhya Pradesh is sharing some water with Gujarat. The commission, which keeps a watch on 91major reservoirs that feed hydropower plants and irrigate fields, advises the central and state governments on use of water for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes.
According to the CWC, the rainfall received this year till February 8 was 85% below normal across the country. "The reservoir situation can improve if rain continues to lash the catchment areas. However, current rains are covering parts of north, north west, central and south India," said Husain. The country's reservoirs held 66.731 billion cubic metres of water, the CWC said, suggesting poor availability for crops to be planted in between April and June. Availability of water for irrigation is a substantial challenge because of poor infrastructure in a country where two-thirds of the arable land is fed by rains.
By BOA Bureau