New Delhi, June 25: With the possibility of a ‘below normal’ monsoon looming large, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Thursday decided to cut the
supply of water for irrigation to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal
Pradesh and Rajasthan by 6000 cusecs till July 10.
BBMB will now supply only 22,000 cusecs against the current supply of 28,000 cusecs, a move that would raise the water level in Bhakra reservoir which has been fast depleting due to lack of rains in its catchment area.
The decision was taken after a meeting between the Board and the representatives of all these states.
"All the states of Punjab, HP, Haryana and Rajasthan have agreed to our decision (of supplying 22,000 cusecs) and this decision will remain enforced till July 10," BBMB, Chairman, UC Misra said.
Misra added, "Although states were demanding 28,000 cusecs of water in view of paddy sowing season but when we pointed out the grim situation they all agreed to receive 22,000 cusecs of water supply."
However, he made it clear that in case, there are no rains till July 10; the release of water would be further curtailed.
"We want that our water level in Bhakra reservoir should rise because from June till September are filling period for us and we want to store maximum level of water in this period," he said.
Misra further informed that because of snow melting in mountain areas, the availability of water inflow has improved to 32,000 cusecs from 22,000 cusecs and water level in Bhakra reservoir has increased by half feet.
"Yesterday our water level in Bhakra was 1504.5 feet and now it has increased to 1505 feet with increased inflow of water," he informed.
In fact, yesterday’s water level was 90 feet less than what it was at the corresponding time last year.
Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh depend heavily on this dam to fulfil their irrigation and drinking water needs.
The water from the Asia’s biggest dam Bhakra Nangal not only provides irrigation and drinking water in these states but also plays a crucial role in power generation.
Meanwhile, monsoon rains, a lifeline to India’s huge economy, are expected to remain below normal this year.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday downgraded the monsoon forecast to 93 percent (seven percent below average) from an earlier prediction of 96 percent, confirming fears that 2009 was going to be an year of ‘below normal monsoon’.
First Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 14:58