Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022
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Poor Rainfall Lowers Water Level In Most Jharkhand Reservoirs

Jharkhand might be declared a drought-hit state after August 15, as the date is considered to be the deadline for paddy sowing, agriculture minister Badal Patralekh had recently said in the Jharkhand Assembly.

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Jharkhand might be declared a drought-hit state due to low rainfall Photo: AP/Fernando Llano

Amid rainfall deficit across Jharkhand, 56 reservoirs in the state, barring a few, are experiencing a declining water level with only 40 per cent of capacity full, an official said on Saturday.

If the monsoon rain continues to remain elusive, this could lead to a drinking water crisis in months to come and aggravate water supplies to agricultural fields for irrigation, state Water Resource Department Chief Engineer (monitoring) Motilal Singh said. 

The department has analysed the water availability in its reservoirs and found that the water level is “declining fast due to low rainfall during the peak season of monsoon”, he said.

“We reviewed the water availability at 56 reservoirs this week and found a deficit of above 60 per cent in the water level as compared to the capacity in almost all reservoirs, excluding one or two. Only 40 per cent (of storage capacity) is full,” Singh told PTI.

He said the depleting water level in reservoirs has already impacted the Kharif farming as the overall sowing coverage in the state was recorded at 27.35 per cent, while the paddy sowing was at 17.43 per cent till Thursday. “If the state does not receive sufficient rain in the current phase of monsoon, it might face a drinking water crisis in months to come,” Singh said.

Among the reservoirs that have been experiencing depleting water levels include Tenughat dam in Bokaro district, which has around 17,800 hectare metre of water storage at present as against the capacity of 81,440 hectare metre, he said.

Compared to its capacity of 3,047 hectare metre, Anraj reservoir in Garhwa currently has 1,116 hectare metre of water. Water stored in Malai reservoir in Palamu is at 1,473 hectare metre as against the capacity of 2,854 hectare metre, according to the state water resource department.

Even though Jharkhand received light to moderate rainfall for the past few days, the “overall deficit is still high”, the official said. The state has registered a 46 per cent rainfall shortage till Thursday. 

“It received mere 297.2mm precipitation from June 1 to August 4 as against the normal rainfall of 549.3mm during the period. Six districts are facing above 60 per cent deficit, while Jamtara district recorded the highest at 70 per cent,” another official said. 

Jharkhand might be declared a drought-hit state after August 15, as the date is considered to be the deadline for paddy sowing, agriculture minister Badal Patralekh had recently said in the Jharkhand Assembly.

However, the water level conditions in three major dams in Ranchi - Getalsud, Dhruwa and Kanke – are relatively better, Singh said. Meanwhile, the officials also apprehended that poor rainfall could impact the groundwater resource adversely. 

Notably, Poryeahat legislator Pradip Yadav, who won the 2019 assembly polls on a JVM-P ticket and later joined the Congress, had on Wednesday claimed in the assembly that the groundwater table was “depleting fast” in several districts, mainly Ranchi, Dhanbad, Pakur and Godda, and demanded the state government's steps to deal with the situation. 

“In Ranchi, groundwater declined to 14 metre, while it dipped to 17 metre in Barharwa (Sahebganj district),” he said. Sanitation Department Minister Mithilesh Thakur claimed that "the groundwater situation is still not so bad". 

“In a bid to monitor the groundwater table, two tube wells in every panchayat are checked up every month. Based on such reports, we can say the situation is still not so bad.” There are 4.40 lakh tube wells in Jharkhand, and 3.63 lakh of them are in working condition, he said.

He said the groundwater level has declined about two metres between April and July this year in Ranchi. “Various steps have been taken under different projects including MGNREGA and Swachh Bharat Mission to check the depletion of groundwater table,” he said in the House.

(With PTI inputs)

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