June 17th

Biggest reservoirs mostly empty

A hot summer across northern, western and southern India has worsened an already severe water crisis in the country. An analysis of water levels in the 91 reservoirs across India for which data are maintained by the Central Water Commission shows that in 85 of them, the water level is below 40% of the capacity, and in 65 it is below 20%. As of June 15, the 91 reservoirs put together hold 30.06 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water — just 18.5% of their total capacity. In Maharashtra, which has been severely affected by drought, only two out of 17 dams hold more than 25% of capacity as of June 15. Seven of them had 0%. None of the reservoirs in Gujarat has more than 35% of the capacity. The Ukai dam, which supplies water to Surat city, had only 3% of its capacity of 6.6 bcm as of June 15. In May, the Surat Municipal Corporation cut water supply to its residents by 10% and irrigation supply was cut off completely.

In Madhya Pradesh, one of the major reservoirs, Gandhi Sagar, is languishing with no water at all. In Karnataka, just one of the reservoirs hold more than 30% of capacity. The Linganamakki dam, one of the biggest in the State, has only 11%. Water levels in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam have hit rock bottom while the Srisailam reservoir, another big dam in the Andhra Pradesh/Telangana region, has only 10% of water left. The table below shows five of the biggest reservoirs that are at less than 10% of their capacity as of June 15.

Photo: Special arrangement

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