As India’s storage declines for the 16th consecutive week, groundwater levels fall below 50% of capacity.

Water levels in India’s 150 largest reservoirs fell for a 16th straight week, as the situation in the north raised concerns about dwindling supplies in the south. Kerala and Tamil Nadu were the only states to receive rain last week, leaving most of the country dry. According to the India Meteorological Department, three quarters of the 711 weather reporting districts have received deficient, heavy or no rainfall since the beginning of 2024. This worsened the situation of the water reservoir as there was scanty rainfall during the monsoon and post-monsoon seasons as well. At least 25 percent of the country was in drought conditions in December, according to the US National Centers for Environmental Information.

No snowfall

Central Water Commission (CWC) data showed the top 150 basins stored 53 percent of 178.784 billion cubic meters (BCM) this week. 95,326 BCM. A year earlier, in the same period, the capacity of the warehouse was 82 percent, and the average over the last 10 years is 95 percent. Except in the eastern region, where three reservoirs are full, the water level is less than 50 percent of the 1958 volume. Since there are no western disturbances in the Himalayas, it has not snowed yet. This adds to the concern as horticulture, pulses, groundnuts and paddy are grown as summer or zaid crops. According to SK Chaudhary, founder-director of Safex Chemicals, this could adversely affect apple production.

AP level -55%

According to CWC, the storage of 10 reservoirs in the Northern region was 9611 billion cubic meters, which is 48.9 percent (51.3 percent last week) of the volume of 19.663 billion cubic meters . Four pools were below 50 percent of capacity, and the remaining four were below 60 percent. No tank was more than 90% full. In Punjab, storage was 34 percent below normal.

In the Southern region, 22 of the 42 reservoirs had less than 50 percent capacity. The water level was 36 percent (37 percent) of the 53,334 billion cubic meter capacity at 18,999 billion cubic meters. Andhra Pradesh was 55 percent below normal, while Karnataka was 34 percent and Tamil Nadu 13 percent below normal, where it improved from negative 16 percent. The Metter (Stanley) reservoir serving Tamil Nadu’s Cauvery delta was at 74 percent capacity, up from 69 percent a week ago. The level in the 26 basins of the Central region was 61 percent (64 percent) of the capacity of 48,227 billion cubic meters by 29,430 billion cubic meters. In 13 of them, the warehouse was below 50 percent, while in the others, except for one, the situation was 70 percent below capacity.

Set to dark?

Reservoirs in Uttar Pradesh were filled 28 percent below normal and in Chhattisgarh 20 percent below. In the eastern region, seven of the 23 basins had less than 50 percent. Assam has more than one and half of the normal water, while West Bengal, Nagaland, Tripura and Bihar are below normal. CWC data showed that the level was 63.5 percent (66 percent) of the 20.43 billion cubic meters of live storage at 12.968 billion cubic meters. In the western region, Maharashtra fell to 10% from last week’s 9%, while Gujarat rose to 36% from an above normal 33%. None of the 49 tanks were full and 12 of them were less than 50 percent full. In total, regional storage accounted for 65 percent (67 percent) of the 37.130 billion cubic meters at 24.318 billion cubic meters. Various global models are predicting a warm February and March due to the effects of El Nino, so the situation could become even bleaker.

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