Tribune News Service
Srinagar, January 1
The water level of the Jhelum river in the Kashmir valley has receded to an unprecedented and alarmingly low point as the region faces one of the severest dry spells in recent years.
The river water level on Sunday morning touched a low of minus 0.55 foot at Sangam in south Kashmir, according to officials of the flood and irrigation department, Kashmir.
The officials said it was the lowest measure of the river’s water level since the department began maintaining the record in 1955.
“The water level has gone down the zero point. In our record maintained since 1955, it is the lowest and it is not routine. It is not normal,” said Arif Ahmad Mir, an official at the department.
The flood alarm level at Sangam, located in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, is 18 feet, while flood declaration level is 21 feet and danger level 23 feet.
The current water level at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar is 2.60 feet and at Asham in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district it is 1.25 feet.
The unprecedented drop in the river’s water level has been caused due to decreased precipitation, officials and experts said, as Kashmir continues with a long dry spell with no downpour recorded in November and only one rainy day in December.
“It is alarming if the dry season continues,” said Irfan Rashid, Assistant Professor at University of Kashmir’s earth sciences department.
Rashid said the discharge and flow of the river in the region is usually lean during the winter. “However, the flow used to be regulated and improved with rains and snowfall. But owing to this year being one of the driest in a decade, the stream flow has plummeted to the lowest level,” Rashid said.
According to the statistics of the Srinagar Meteorological Centre and India Meteorological Department, the precipitation during the past three months has been minimal across the Kashmir region and the departure from the average rainfall between October and December has been 100 per cent during most weeks.
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