The southwest monsoon is likely to hit the Kerala coast in two to three days marking the start of the three-month season of rainfall across the subcontinent, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast on Friday.
“There is an increase in cloudiness over Kerala coast and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea. Hence, conditions are becoming favourable for monsoon onset over Kerala during the next 2-3 days,” the IMD said. The usual date of the onset of monsoon is June 1.
Meanwhile, private weather forecasting agency Skymet has said the monsoon, which it had earlier forecast to hit the Kerala coast on Thursday, “has been delayed”.
The IMD has forecast that monsoon rainfall will be “normal” for the fourth year in a row, boosting expectations of a robust kharif crop.
India’s foodgrain production will rise 1.2% on year to a new record of 314.51 million tonne for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), according to the third advance estimate released by the agriculture ministry recently.
Low water storage levels in reservoirs in western and eastern parts of the country, however, could have some impact on pulses, oil seeds and paddy output.
Meanwhile, the average water level in 140 major reservoirs in the country at present is up by 8% on year, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has said. The water level is also 36% higher than the average of the last 10 years.
However, reservoir water level is down by around 11% and 12% respectively from the year-ago period in eastern and western regions.
Officials said water level in reservoirs is set to rise in coming months as IMD has forecast a “normal” monsoon (June-September) at 99% of the benchmark long-period average, with a model error of +/- 5%.
The comfortable water storage augurs well for kharif crops like paddy, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals.
Reservoirs currently have 56.39 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, which is about 32% of their combined capacity. A year ago, 52.02 BCM water was available in these reservoirs, while the average of the last 10 years is 41.33 BCM, according to the latest CWC note.
“Current water level of reservoirs was 108% of the live storage of the corresponding period of last year and 136% of storage of the average of last 10 years,” the commission said.
In terms of regional variations, 25 reservoirs in the central region (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and 39 in the southern region (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) have more water than last year and the average of last 10 years.
However, water level in 21 reservoirs in the eastern region (Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland and Bihar) is currently lower than a year ago and the average of the last 10 years. In 46 reservoirs in the western region (Gujarat and Maharashtra) water level at present is less than the corresponding period last year, but higher than the average storage of last decade.
Nine reservoirs in the northern region (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan) have more water at present compared to last year, but less than last 10 year’s average.