Deficient monsoon, lower dam level not to affect power, water

CHANDIGARH: Deficient monsoon in Himachal and the relatively lower water level of the major reservoirs in the state at the end of the rain season this year will not be a dampener for the supply of water to states in the region or for power generation.

editorial@tribune.com

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20

Deficient monsoon in Himachal and the relatively lower water level of the major reservoirs in the state at the end of the rain season this year will not be a dampener for the supply of water to states in the region or for power generation.

Though the reservoir level at Bhakra dam on the Sutlej is still about 30 feet below its top mark, sources at the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said that given the present storage, they would be able to meet the water demand from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan in the coming months. “We are releasing 38, 000 to 40,000 cusecs from Bhakra and Pong Dam daily for the past month and we expect to maintain this level,” a senior officer said.

The water level at Bhakra on Friday was 1,650.73 feet, up by about 95 feet from the lowest level recorded for this year on May 9, which was 1,556.11 feet. Currently, the reservoir is filled up to 75 per cent of its capacity as compared to 94 per cent for the same time last year.

Though the water level at Pong Dam on the Beas is still about 20 feet below its upper limit, it has risen 94 feet from its lowest level of the year, 1,276.38 feet recorded on June 9, to 1,370.73 feet on Friday. Pong is filled up to 75 per cent of its capacity compared to 90 per cent last year.

BBMB officials said that both the Sutlej and the Beas are snow and rain-fed. “Last winters, the snow in the rivers’ catchment areas was very less and this year the rains have also been below expectation,” an officer said. “Though there were two floods in the Beas’ catchment, there were no flood events on the Sutlej. If we have one or two floods that can bring in 2-4 lakh cusecs, the levels at Bhakra can still rise by 5-6 feet,” he added.

Most of the Sutlej’s catchment lies in upper Himalayas and Tibet. Rainfall in Himachal has been deficient by 22 per cent, with important regions like Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur receiving 76 per cent and 55 per cent less rainfall, respectively.

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