Bhakra, Pong water levels up
Chandigarh, June 28
After being down for months, the water levels of the Bhakra and Pong dams in Himachal Pradesh are looking up and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is increasingly becoming confident of meeting the irrigation needs of farmers in Punjab and Haryana this paddy season.
According to reports received here, the level of the Bhakra dam today was 1,518 ft, an increase of 5 ft as compared to 1,513 ft last year. Similarly, the level of the Pong dam at 1,281 ft is 7 ft more than the level recorded last year.
The increase in reservoir strength may see more paddy being transplanted even now in Punjab. This is because many farmers had chosen to wait for the monsoon as they had been given advisories by the state Agriculture Department that canal water was likely to be in short supply. Farmers in canal-fed areas are likely to take up the transplantation of basmati.
BBMB sources said the increased snowmelt in June due to hot-wave conditions was responsible for the increase in the water level of the dam. They said water inflows into the Bhakra had increased from the earlier 22,000 cusecs per day to 36,000 cusecs since June 22. The situation in the Pong dam is also likely to get better once the rains start. The dam, which is receiving inflows of only 3,650 cusecs per day, is a rain-fed dam.
The BBMB has now decided to continue meeting the requirements of both Punjab and Haryana till July 10. While Punjab is getting 14,200 cusecs of water, Haryana is getting 9,900 cusecs. The BBMB is likely to change this schedule beyond July 10 in the case of a less-than-normal monsoon.
Sources said this was the first time that the water level of both the Bhakra and Pong dams had moved up in months. The water level at the Bhakra dam has been consistently low this season when compared with the levels last year. At the end of March the dam levels were 45 ft lower than the levels recorded during the same period last year.
With inflows on the increase and a normal monsoon set to hit Himachal and its higher reaches in the first week of July, the BBMB is optimistic that it will be able to meet the irrigation requirements for the paddy crop.