Rabies crops in southern India are at risk as reservoir levels decline.

Water levels in India’s 150 largest reservoirs fell for the 12th consecutive week, with water reserves falling below 60 percent in the northern region and below 40 percent in the southern region, data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) showed. The concern is that more than 50 percent of the reservoirs in the southern region – 22 out of 42 reservoirs – have storage below 50 percent of capacity. According to the CWC’s weekly live storage status bulletin, the top 150 tanks recorded 107.07 billion cubic meters (BCM) of capacity this week from 178,784 BCM, up 60 percent (62 percent last week). 

Rice sowing success

The level is 20 percentage points lower than a year ago and 34 percentage points lower than the average of the last 10 years.“The problem in the southern region is a concern because states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka depend on them for irrigation. Major crops like paddy, pulses, and oilseeds may be affected,” said an agricultural expert. The expert specifically said that paddy cultivation in the central regions of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu has been affected, while North Karnataka is facing a water shortage. The recent rain from Storm Michaung in the first week of this month, followed by a deep depression last week, did little to improve retention. “The watersheds lack the necessary rains”, said the expert. 

North, no worry

CWC data showed that the storage capacity of the southern region was 41 percent at 21,642 BCM. Only one tank is fully filled, while 19 tanks are below 40 percent. Srisailam, Tungabhadra, and Krishna Raja Sagara (see table) have levels below 50 percent of the last 10-year average. At Tattihalla Karnataka, the warehouse almost sank. In the Northern region, the capacity of 10 reservoirs decreased to 11,594 billion cubic meters, which is 59 percent (63%) compared to the capacity of 19,663 billion cubic meters. Punjab in particular is critical, with storage 29 percent (-8 percent) below normal this week. According to experts, there is no reason to worry about the availability of water for rabies crops, especially wheat, in the region because the river channels are well served. 

Maharashtra Group

In the eastern region, the level was 70 percent (71 percent) of the 20.43 billion cubic meters at 14,308 billion cubic meters. Three of the district’s 23 reservoirs are full, while one has reservoirs below 40 percent. Among the states, the biggest areas of concern are Bihar (-24 percent) and Nagaland (-13 percent). In the 49 basins of the Western Region, storage accounted for 72 percent (74 percent) of the 37.130 billion cubic meters by 26.825 billion cubic meters. Maharashtra is alarming as the level is 10 percent below the norm. One tank is filled to the brim, while three have levels below 40 percent. In the Central Region, the level of 26 reservoirs accounted for 69 percent (71 percent) of the volume of 48.227 billion cubic meters by 33.338 billion cubic meters. Eight have less than 40 percent storage, and the other two have less than 50 percent. Uttar Pradesh (-26 percent) and Chhattisgarh (-16 percent) are worrying. According to the India Meteorological Department, 47 percent of the 713 districts for which data is available are in the post-monsoon season, which begins on October 1. Storage capacity is likely to continue to decline.

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