NEW DELHI: A week of surplus Rainfall has filled up reservoirs to a level above the 10-year average and helped the monsoon Deficit contract further to 24%, further easing the situation which was taking alarming proportions after six weeks of drought-like conditions that have delayed crop planting.
RRainfall was 24% above normal in the past seven days, bouncing back from a deficit of 15% in the previous week and much drier phases before that. This filled the country's major reservoirs to 35% of the total capacity of 155.05 billion cubic metres, down from 51% last year, but better than the 10-year average of 34%.
"The situation has improved, but we are still not comfortable. Only when the seasonal rainfall deficit goes to 10%, the reservoir levels will be in good position," said AB Pandya, chairman of state-run Central Water Commission.
Pandya said the state governments could decide on allocating water only for drinking or in some cases for Irrigation depending on the reservoir position. "Kharif sowing has been delayed this year and the state governments can provide water for irrigation if there is gap in monsoon," he said.
The commission which monitors 85 important reservoirs of the country on a weekly basis, said the states of Punjab, Odisha and Chhattisgarh had better storage than last year for corresponding period. The situation was not similar in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tripura, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
"We expect the situation to improve in the coming days," said Pandya. Reservoirs normally fill up rapidly in July and create a water reserve for irrigation, drinking and power generation until the following year's monsoon.
ata from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed that 41% of the country has received normal rainfall this season, as it rained heavily every day in most regions except northern and north western parts.
On Thursday, it was 10% above average.
With heavy rains recorded over central India, west Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat region, Saurashtra, Kutch, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra,Konkan and Goa.
In the next 24 hours, the Met department has forecast heavy rainfall to occur at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Uttarakhand, Saurashtra, Kutch, Konkan, Goa, Assam , Meghalaya and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Officials said planting of crops, particularly cotton, soybean, paddy which was at half of last year's level, is expected to pick up substantially as the monsoon had strengthened. Crops such as maize, bajra, and other coarse cereals could also be sown during this period.
So far, rainfall is 20%-24% in deficit in the southern, eastern and central parts of the country. In the north and northwestern regions, the deficit is 36%. In Punjab, Haryana and western UP, the seasonal deficit is more than 50%. While most of the farms in Punjab and Haryana have access to good irrigation facilities, monsoon rainfall also influences productivity of crops.