Agra: Dispelling fears of a drought, rains in August have lifted the spirits of farmers in western Uttar Pradesh with the region receiving more than the annual average so far, officials and people said.

Against an annual average of 650 mm, Agra has so far received around 740 mm. In August alone, the Taj city received 430 mm, an official said.

"This has been the best August in the last five years," said Ravi Singh, a farmer of Barauli Ahir block of the district.

The monsoon withdraws only after Sep 15 and this means a few more showers could raise the total, Singh said.

"The ponds in the rural belt are overflowing, and the smaller streams in the district like Utangan and Parvati are full at the moment," a development department official, Subhash Jha said.

The Agra Water Works is no longer under pressure as river Yamuna has not only diluted the toxic pollutants but provided more than enough raw water for treatment.

"The daily consumption of chemicals for treating raw water has come down substantially," an official said.

The heavy discharges from barrages upstream of Agra have ensured that the river flows full. "The garbage dumps have disappeared and the Yamuna for a change looks beautiful and majestic from the rear of the Taj Mahal," tourist guide Ved Gautam said.

"The view one gets from Mehtab Bagh, on the other bank of Yamuna, of the Taj and the Agra Fort is fantastic. The river undoubtedly was a great fascination for the Mughals who built some of the best monuments along its banks," Gautam said.

(Agencies)

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