Widespread rainfall this season has brought cheer to Rajasthan, filling up its dams and ensuring that the next summer will not see a water crisis of the kind that hit the desert state this year.
Already 73 per cent of the total capacity in 716 dams has been filled as on August 20, officials said, adding that this was 57 per cent during the same period last year. At the same time, sowing targets of Kharif crops have been nearly completed and the production is expected to be more than previous year, officials said.
The state has so far recorded 27 per cent more than the normal rainfall and no district is under the category of "deficit or scanty" rains, they said. Water crisis had deepened in Pali district during summer season this year as Jawai dam dried up. Drinking water had to ferried to Pali via trains from Jodhpur, where water is supplied through Rajiv Gandhi lift canal.
Drinking water is supplied from the Jawai dam to the entire Pali district and Siwana tehsil in nearby Sirohi district. "It is really a matter of relief that sufficient water has already come in the Jawai dam. We faced severe water scarcity in the summer season this year because there was no water in the dam," Tosh Chandra Chauhan, a bank officer based in Pali, said.
"Temperature started increasing unusually in the month of March and by April, the water crisis was at its peak. Though water was transported from Jodhpur and supplied here, we had to manage many things keeping the shortage of water in mind," he said.
Madan Singh Jaitawat, Executive Engineer (Jawai) of the Water Resources Department said the current water level in the dam was 45.65 feet whereas it was merely 20 feet last year during this time.
Similarly, Public Health Engineering Department's Chief Engineer (Urban) Manish Beniwal said transportation of water from Jodhpur to Pali will not be required this year because sufficient water has already come in the reservoir.
"Be it Jawai Dam or Bisalpur in Tonk, water level is enough to supply drinking water for one year. Water crisis will not be there in the next summer season and this is a very good thing for the state," Beniwal said. Bisalpur dam fulfils the drinking water requirements of Jaipur, Ajmer and Tonk.
According to the water resources department, 716 dams in the state currently have 9177.14 million cubic metres of water against a total capacity of 12608.29 million cubic metres, which is 72.79 per cent. Last year, it was 56.97 per cent during the same period. At present, 198 dams are completely filled and 299 are partially filled.
On the other hand, sowing for Kharif crops has been almost completed. "Against the target of 164.17 lakh hectare, sowing in 162.26 lakh hectare has been done so far. The target is near completion," PK Gupta, joint director (statistics), department of agriculture said.
Last year, the target was 163.62 lakh hectare and sowing was done in 141.35 lakh hectare during that time. The total sowing last year was 161 lakh hectare. "Looking at the sowing, we expect good production," he said.
Another official said a record production of moong, moth, millet, and sesame is expected. Agricultural experts said this rainfall will also have its benefits during the Rabi season. "Monsoon has a direct impact on inflation. If crop production increases, supply will also increase," he said.
According to the water resources department, Rajasthan normally receives 404.02 mm from June 1 to 20 August. Against this, the state has received 515.25 mm rainfall, which is 27.5 percent higher.
This year, ten districts are under the normal rainfall category, 17, including the state capital Jaipur, under the excessive rainfall category and six are under the abnormal rainfall category.
Ajmer, Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Hanumangarh, Jaipur, Jalore, Jhalawar, Jhunjunu, Kota, Nagaur, Paratapgarh, Rajsamand, Sikar, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur received excess rainfall (20 to 59 per cent).
Six districts -- Barmer, Baran, Churu, Ganganagar, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur -- are under "abnormal" rainfall category (60 percent or more) whereas the normal rainfall took place in Alwar, Baran, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Dausa, Dholpur, Karauli, Pali and Sawai Madhopur.
(With PTI inputs)