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Where are diminishing water stocks going?

Every week, the Central Water Commission puts out a status alert on the 81 major reservoirs in India. The CWC monitors water storage levels in 81 important/major reservoirs, which together contain 151.77 billion cubic metres (BCM), which is about 72% of total reservoir capacity in the country.

The monsoon hasn't set in yet, and there is no firm forecast from the Indian Meteorological Department that it will in the next week. Today is 14 June, and I fear that not only is there a major crisis taking shape, there is also not enough recognition that there is such a crisis gathering with the delay in the rains.

Take a look at what the CWC said in end-March:
"Water stock in 81 major reservoirs decreased to 38.98 BCM (billion cubic metres). Current storage is less than the last year’s position of 49.61 BCM and the average of last 10 year’s storage of 41.04 BCM."

This is the CWC reservoir bulletin in end-April:
"Water stock in 81 major reservoirs decreased to 26.56 BCM. Current storage is less than the last year’s position of 39.64 BCM and the average of last 10 year’s storage of 29.53 BCM."

And this is the most recent bulletin, issued in early June:
"Water stock in 81 major reservoirs decreased to 17.50 BCM. Current storage is less than the last year’s position of 29.24 BCM and the average of last 10 year’s storage of 21.02 BCM."

Looking at the bulletin every week, what becomes clear is that the water drawal from major reservoirs showed the trend gathering from February onwards. What we see clearly is that not only are the reservoir levels this year significantly lower than levels last year (78% less in end-March, 66% less end-April and 59% less early June) but the rate of drawal did not slacken.

You would think that by early March a water stocks protecion system should have kicked in, especially since it's not until end-May that the country gets firm info about that year's monsoon. But this has not happened. What is the impact going to be on agriculture?

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.