As snow evades catchment areas, Bhakra dam authorities worried - Hindustan Times
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As snow evades catchment areas, Bhakra dam authorities worried

By, Chandigarh
Jan 15, 2024 07:40 AM IST

With the catchment areas of Sutlej River hardly receiving any snow even in peak winter months, authorities are worried that the Bhakra dam may see a dip in water inflow, which may ultimately have an adverse impact on the year-long planning of power generation and supply of water to partner states.

With the catchment areas of Sutlej River hardly receiving any snow even in peak winter months, authorities are worried that the Bhakra dam may see a dip in water inflow, which may ultimately have an adverse impact on the year-long planning of power generation and supply of water to partner states.

The catchment areas of Sutlej area spread over 56,000 square kilometres in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and some parts in Uttarakhand and the area normally starts seeing snowfall from mid-December to February. (HT File)
The catchment areas of Sutlej area spread over 56,000 square kilometres in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and some parts in Uttarakhand and the area normally starts seeing snowfall from mid-December to February. (HT File)

“The Sutlej is fed by melting glaciers. Less snow means less water for the dam,” said Sunil Singla, secretary of Bhakra Beas Management Board which manages the dam.

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The catchment areas of Sutlej area spread over 56,000 square kilometres in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and some parts in Uttarakhand and the area normally starts seeing snowfall from mid-December to February.

“This time, snowfall has been negligible even during the peak winter months. There is prediction of snow in the upper reaches in January-end but it is to be seen how much snow it gets,” said India Meteorological Centre’s Himachal head Surendra Paul.

‘Half of the reservoir’s water already used up’

In August last year, Bhakra Dam’s reservoir, Gobind Sagar Lake, had been filled up to the brim at 1,680 feet due to heavy rain in the catchment areas. However, within four months, 57-ft water, which comes to almost half of the water-holding capacity of the reservoir, was consumed.

As of January 13, the water level in the Gobind Sagar Lake was recorded at 1,623 feet, which is seven feet less than what it was on the same day last year.

Also, as per the figures from the central water commission, the dam is currently storing 3.27 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water which is 7% less than the normal, against its maximum filling capacity of 6.23 BCM.

The dam’s filing season begins in June and continues up till September. This water is supplied to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for irrigation and to National Capital Delhi for its drinking water needs.

Water from the dam irrigates at least 10 lakh hectares of agriculture land, has power generation capacity of 1,325 megawatts and supplies potable water to a large section of population in North India.

According to Singla, the dam still has a large quantity of water but keeping in view the need and dependence on the dam, it should have adequate arrangement for filling the reservoir.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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