Water levels in India's major reservoirs are 10 percent lower than normal, claims study

New Delhi: Water levels in India's major reservoirs are 10 percent lower than normal whereas these are 50 percent deficient in Himachal Pradesh, a factsheet by Climate Trends said on Tuesday.

Putting together the spread of India's dwindling water tables and acute water distress across the country, the study, compiled from the secondary data, looks at the impact of climate change in shifting rainfall patterns in India, the repeated droughts and water shortage incidents and the economic impact of water shortage on industries.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Climate Trends, a communications initiative focussing on building public understanding of climate change and clean energy issues, offers a snapshot of the inter-state and international water disputes that India is facing currently - which offers a pretty dismal picture of water shortage in the country.

The report shows that as of mid-May, water levels in major reservoirs are 10 percent lower than normal this time of the year, while the levels were 11 percent lower in October 2017, at the end of monsoon.

Many states have seen significant changes in annual rainfall patterns like the year-round rainfall in Chhattisgarh has fallen nearly 10 percent, while it has increased in coastal Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana.

Extreme rainfall is becoming more common in much of the country leading to floods and loss of agriculture.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand all saw major reservoirs running dry in early 2018 and drought and severe water shortages in many parts of these states.

As temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius in most parts of India, studies find by turn of the century much of South Asia will be too hot for people to survive.

2016 was the warmest year for India on record, contributing to worsening drought, water shortage and migration.

Millions fled the water shortage and heat, as per government records 330 million were affected by the drought of 2015-16.

"Immediate awareness and action towards water conservation and its efficient management is the crucial first step needed to manage water shortages across the board," Climate Trends Director Aarti Khosla said in a statement.

"For a country usually endowed with good monsoons, it's a shame that we are unable to harvest water that is made available to us and end up with crisis situation, both in managing heavy rainfall and water scarce conditions alike."

"We must focus on the better governance of our water resources if we have to avert a water crisis like the one seen in Shimla this summer," Centre for Energy, Environment and Water researcher Kangkanika Neog said.

Tourists are being told to stay away from the Himachal Pradesh capital during peak holiday season, as the city makes news for its Cape Town moment with no water supply for over two weeks now.

Rampant water shortage is forcing residents to lock their water tanks in Rajasthan's Ajmer, the factsheet said, adding that these are some of the many crises coming to light as the scorching heat builds up.


Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 19:01 PM

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