Surplus snow may offset deficient monsoon

CHANDIGARH: As clouds of apprehensions hover over a good monsoon this year, the possibility of the rain gods playing truant could be offset by surplus snow fall in the preceding winter and higher water levels in major reservoirs in the region.

editorial@tribune.com

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10

As clouds of apprehensions hover over a good monsoon this year, the possibility of the rain gods playing truant could be offset by surplus snow fall in the preceding winter and higher water levels in major reservoirs in the region.

Scientists at the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), which monitors snow precipitation and climatic conditions in the Himalayas, said the snowfall recorded at six monitoring stations in Himachal Pradesh in the last winter was 15-20 per cent above the past 10-year average while it was below average at two stations.

Snowfall recorded at Dhundi in Solang Valley that lies along the southern axis of the Pir Panjal Range in Himachal, for example, received 1480 cm snow as compared to the average of 1200 cm, while Patseo that lies along the range’s northern axis received 662 cm against the average of 511 cm.

In Jammu and Kashmir, where snow melt feeds the Indus river system that has more implications for Pakistan than for India, snow was lower than the 10-year average at seven out of the nine monitoring stations.

“Traditionally, the western disturbances entering India first hit Jammu and Kashmir and then move down to Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. During the past snow season, the disturbances hit Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand directly due to which a lot of precipitation took place in these areas,” Director SASE, Ashwagosha Ganju said. “As a result of more snowfall, water will be available in the river systems even if monsoon is delayed or deficient,” he added.

The Sutlej and the Beas that flow through Himachal and Punjab are crucial to the states in this region for agriculture as well as power generation. Adequate water levels in the Bhakra Dam and Pong Dam reservoirs assume great significance during summers.

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