The monsoon situation in Kerala is going from bad to worse, with the week ending on July 18 reporting 77 per cent deficient rainfall.
The overall rainfall deficiency in the State for the season beginning from June 1 was 30 per cent as on July 11. It went up during the subsequent week to reach the level of 37 per cent as on July 18.
The gap between normal rainfall and actual rainfall is widening for the State, according to the latest rainfall update put out by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The IMD’s weather prediction models on Saturday also did not indicate the possibility of the monsoon getting into an active phase during the week ahead. There will be rain during the week, but its intensity will not be of the kind that can bring down the widening gap between normal and actual rainfall.
A rain-facilitating atmospheric trough at mean sea level stretched from Maharashtra coast to Karnataka coast on Saturday, but the models did not show any likelihood of the trough shifting more to the south to cover Kerala coast during the week ahead. South Kerala, especially, is not likely to improve its monsoon performance during the week ahead.
The districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta, where the major reservoirs of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) are located, are deficient in rainfall by 32 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” said KSEB member (Generation, Transmission and Operation) M. Mohammed Rawther. “We are hoping things will improve.”
Talking to The Hindu, he said the water storage in the hydroelectric reservoirs in the State came to only 18 per cent of the capacity of the reservoirs. Usually the reservoirs would be around 45 per cent full at this time of the monsoon.
The KSEB is doing a tight rope walk at the moment, according to him. “We have regulated the generation of hydroelectric power to around 14 million units a day so as not to use up too much water from the reservoirs. Usually we generate around 18 million units of electricity a day during this time of the year, because it is the time when the inflow into the reservoirs is at its peak.”
He said one fortunate thing now was that some of the neighbouring States had electricity to sell, especially Andhra Pradesh. The average daily power consumption in the State now came to around 55 million units. The KSEB was drawing more power than usual from thermal power stations, including the Kayamkulam station of National Thermal Power Corporation, to keep power generation from hydroelectric stations at the minimum possible level.