Continuing good rains over north, central and western parts of the country has pushed up water levels in major reservoirs across the country. According to the latest data from the Central Water Commission (CWC), water levels in 84 major reservoirs are almost at the same level as last year. This, experts said, should augur well for the coming rabi season as fields would have adequate water for irrigation. The southwest monsoon in 2011 was slightly more than normal, however, in 2012 there was little chance of that repeating because of initial low showers.
However, most experts believe that the strong revival in rains since August has brought the situation back to normal. The data showed that the water level in the reservoirs is at 114.8 billion cubic meters (BCM) which is 87 per cent of last year’s level and 108 per cent of the 10-year average water level.
In July end, the water levels had dropped to around 16 per cent of last year’s level. However, it has picked up since then as rains revived in most parts of the country, particularly in the north and western parts of the country.
The overall shortfall in southwest monsoon has dropped to just 5 per cent till September 20, down from a high of around 20 per cent in end July. During the week ending September 19, India received around 44 per cent above average rainfall.
Rainfall is considered to be normal when it is within 96-104 per cent of the LPA. Long Period Average is the average rainfall across the country during the four-month southwest monsoon season during a 50 year period starting from 1951. It is estimated to be around 89 centimeters.
In north India all the six major water reservoirs have water levels which are more than 70 per cent of Full Reservoir Level (FRL). The Full Reservoir Level is estimated 154.42 billion cubic meters.
In end June of the six, water level in almost four reservoirs were below 40 of FRL. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, though, the situation has not changed dramatically and according to the Central Water Commission (CWC), 10 out of the 22 reservoirs in the region has water level which is less than 50 per cent of FRL.
India’s kharif sowing, mainly that of coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds has been impacted by the delayed onset of monsoon. However, it is expected to make some gains because of late resurgence.
Southwest monsoon is crucial for Indian agriculture as 55 percent of India's farmland is without irrigation. Rains below 90 percent of long-term averages are considered deficient -- a drought in layman's terms.