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

The water level in the 150 major Indian reservoirs continued to decline for the 16th consecutive week with the situation in the North adding to the concerns raised by dropping storage in the South. Kerala and Tamil Nadu were the only States to receive rainfall in the past week with a major part of the country going dry. According to the India Meteorological Department, three-fourths of the 711 districts that provide weather data received deficient, large deficient or no rainfall since the beginning of 2024. This has compounded the reservoir situation with the monsoon and post-monsoon seasons also receiving deficient rainfall. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information of the US, at least 25 percent of the country was under drought in December.

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, the storage in 22 of the 42 reservoirs was below 50 per cent of capacity. The water level was 36 per cent (37 per cent) of the 53.334 BCM capacity at 18.999 BCM.

The situation in Andhra Pradesh was 55 per cent below normal, while it was 34 per cent below normal in Karnataka and 13 per cent lower in Tamil Nadu, where it improved from a negative 16 per cent. The level in Metter (Stanley) reservoir, which serves the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu, was 74 per cent of the capacity against 69 per cent a week ago.

In the 26 reservoirs in the central region, the level was 61 per cent (64 per cent) of the 48.227 BCM capacity at 29.430 BCM. 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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