While Tamil Nadu alone has better
storage than last year for the corresponding period, most other states such as
Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura,
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh,
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have
lesser storage than last year for the corresponding period.
“Even though there is no data available as yet
from the government that could establish the exact relationship between the
reduced water availability in these reservoirs and the decrease in farming, we
can assume about this especially in cases of reservoirs which are providing
irrigation,” said Panda citing that “a just released
information from India's Agriculture Ministry shows that Indian farmers have
drastically gone down on sowing Wheat, Gram and Pulses in the Rabi farming
Reduced water levels in the reservoirs would mean
more conflicts between different uses.
“Farmers and hydro power generation are going to
suffer in cases such as Hirakud where there is already a growing conflict due to
illegal and excessive withdrawal of water by the industrial houses making
irrigation and hydro power generation to suffer,” Panda adds.
As per the CWC, the Eastern region that includes
States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura has 15 reservoirs having a
total storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total storage available in these
reservoirs as of 5th November 2014 was 14.71 BCM, which is 78 per cent of total
storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of
last year was 88 per cent, which means these reservoirs are running at a
capacity reduction of 10 per cent from the previous year.
Panda, who believes that the centralized large
storage systems have more negatives to offer than they can contribute
positively, sees a long term solution to India’s water woes in decentralized
water harvesting and management through small structures that are done in
ecologically sustainable models so that the entire river basins are recharged.