Chandigarh: With water level in Bhakra and Pong reservoirs reaching "worrisome" level, Bhakra Beas Management Board has reduced water release by 10 percent to partnering states, including Punjab and Haryana, where sowing of paddy has already been hit due to deficient rains.

"Water supply to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan has been cut down by 10 percent from on Tuesday," official sources said.

The reduction in water supply to partnering states would mean that farmers of these states would get less water for irrigation for their crops in ongoing kharif sowing season.

BBMB releases over 40,000 cusecs of water per day from Bhakra and Pong reservoirs to the partnering states for irrigation purposes.

Farmers said that cut in water supply by BBMB would force them to spend more on diesel to extract water for irrigating kharif crops, including paddy, cotton, maize, guar among others and it would not only jack up input cost substantially but would also cause further depletion of
underground water resources.

A total 30.88 lakh hectares and 29 lakh hectares of land in Punjab and Haryana, respectively, are under irrigation system.

BBMB on July 5 had announced to reduce water release by 10-20 percent if rainfall failed or remained low in next 7-10 days. This decision was taken after holding a meeting with the representatives of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

With rain remaining "deficient" in northern region, the water level in Bhakra and Pong reservoirs have reached a "worrisome" level, forcing BBMB to reduce water outflow in order to raise water level in these dams.

Level of water in Bhakra dam on Tuesday stands at 1,551.63 feet, 60 feet lower than what the level was in corresponding day of last year. Similarly, water level in Pong dam is 1,291.86 feet as against 1,353 feet in last year, BBMB official said.

On account of less rain and slow snow melting, the water inflow in both reservoirs has also been lower this water- filling season. Water inflow at present in Bhakra is 28,600 cusecs, fell from 33,000 cusecs twelve days back, while inflow into pong dam is 8,285 cusecs, 50 percent lower than last year's level.

BBMB Chairman AB Agrawal in last meeting had described the "delayed" monsoon as "unfortunate" and had feared that the both Bhakra and Pong reservoirs might not be filled during the ongoing water filling period.

Filling period of Bhakra and Pong reservoirs is till September 20. The next meeting to review water release is now fixed for July 26.

(Agencies)

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