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Poor water levels cripple hydropower generation in Telangana, Jharkhand, Andhra, TN

Water levels of dams in central and south India are abnormally low this year, going by data of hydro-electricity production across India.

According to data of electricity produced by dams in India from April 2016 to February 2017, both the south and central India are facing extreme shortage of water.

The average production of hydro-electricity across the country was only 32.5% of the total capacity.

India has a total installed capacity of 44.4 GW in terms of dams of capacity of 25 MW or higher. If all these dams were working at 100% capacity 24 hours of the day seven days a week, they would have produced 349 billion units of power as of Feb 25.

However, due to various reasons including scheduled maintenance, the actual output of hydroelectric plants can only be expected to be around 85-95% at most.

However, India produced only 113.8 units — or about 32.5% of its total capacity — in the first eleven months of the financial year.

Only one state, Manipur, saw its dams and projects operating at optimum level. The state, which accounts for only 0.24% India’s total hydropower generation capacity, produced 0.62% of its electricity from large hydro projects.

The overall production in Manipur was at 85.5% of capacity.

No other state even came close, with Jammu & Kashmir following at a distance with 57% production. The state, with 7% of India’s large-hydropower capacity, produced 12.3% of the country’s total power from such projects in the eleven months.

These hilly states were followed by Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam, Nagaland and Punjab, all of which saw utilization rates of above 40%.

DROUGHT?

It was the south and central India that seemed to be bearing the brunt of a harsh summer, with power production at dams here at abnormally low levels.

Telangana was the worst hit, producing just 6.7% of its installed capacity. It accounted for only 1% of India’s total hydroelectricity production during the period despite having 5% of the capacity.

Jharkhand was the only other state with a single-digit utilization level, with its hydro projects outputting only 9.5% of their design capacity during the year.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu followed close behind at around 13%, followed by Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

India’s biggest state by capacity, Himachal Pradesh, produced 47% of its installed capacity and contributed 31.3% of all hydropower produced in India during the first eleven months of this year. The hill state accounts for 21.6% of India’s total hydropower capacity.

The Indian Meteorological Department had predicted that the country will have above normal rainfall in the 2016 monsoon, predicting 106% of the long period average. However, the actual rainfall was slightly below normal, coming in at 97% of the average.

According to the IMD, South India had a shortfall of 8% in the rains it received from the South West monsoon this year, while central India saw 6% higher rainfall than normal.

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