Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 30
Rainfall over the region during spring season has been seriously deficient this year while the water level in crucial reservoirs located in the north too is significantly below normal.
Data compiled by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reveals that from March 1 to March 30 the deficiency was as high as 70 per cent in Punjab. In Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the shortfall was 62 per cent each.
During the aforementioned period, Punjab received 7.1 mm rain against the normal of 23.4 mm. Haryana recorded 4.4 mm against the normal of 11.8 mm while Himachal Pradesh received 41.7 mm against the normal of 108.9 mm for this duration.
Bathinda, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar were among the worst hit districts in Punjab, while Kangra, Hamirpur and Sirmaur remained the driest in Himachal Pradesh. On the other hand, a few districts in southern Haryana received excess rain in March, though the north-western parts of the state received little or no rain.
An active western disturbance and its induced cyclonic circulation had caused fairly widespread rainfall snowfall and thunderstorms over western Himalayan region and Punjab during March 22–24, but according to the IMD, the precipitation was 5 per cent below normal.
The weatherman has predicted that due to absence of any active western disturbance, rainfall activity is likely to below normal over northwest India during the first week of April, while maximum temperatures are expected to rise gradually by 4—6 degrees Celsius.
As far as the water level in crucial dams is concerned, which is crucial for irrigation, domestic and industrial use as well as power generation, the present storage is reported to be 46 per cent below normal in Himachal Pradesh and 42 per cent below normal in Punjab.
According to information released by the Central Water Commission (CWC), the present storage at Bhakra Dam that lies on the Sutlej in Himachal is just 20 per cent of the total reservoir capacity. The average storage at this dam at this time of the year was 38 per cent over the past 10 years.
At Pong Dam on the Beas in Himachal, the present storage is 18 per cent of the total capacity as compared to the past 10-year average of 32 per cent, while at Thein Dam on the Ravi in Punjab it is 23 per cent against the 10-year average of 40 per cent, this time of the year.