NUAPADA: Nuapada is facing one of the worst droughts in recent times. With the district receiving less than normal rainfall, all the irrigation projects (IPs) are flowing just about one metre above the Dead Storage Level (DSL). If the level dips further, water in the IPs cannot be accessed under normal operating conditions.This has not only made the dying kharif crop vulnerable but has also cast a cloud on the fate of ensuing rabi crop.
While the district received about 50.61 per cent deficit rain in July, the rainfall was 18.99 per cent less in August. And though it is about a fortnight into September, the district has registered a meagre 46.90 mm rainfall against the normal of 214.5 mm.Available statistics reveal that the trend is similar in all five IPs under Nuapada Irrigation Division. In Sundar IP at Jodamunda in Komna block, the water level as on September 4 was 302.10 metres against the DSL of 301.25 metres. In Saipala IP in Nuapada block, the water level was 301.25 metres against the DSL of 300.07 metres.
Similarly in Dumerbahal IP, the water level was 285.42 metres against the DSL of 284.38 metres while in Jharbandh IP, it was 251.92 metres against against the DSL of 250.50 metres.
However, the situation is comparatively better in Upper Jonk IP, more popular as Potara Dam, with an ayacut of 9,000 hectares. Till September 4, the water level was 2346.53 hectometre (hm) against the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 6434 hm. The water level was 348.83 metres against the DSL of 334.50 metres, below which water cannot be discharged.
Contacted, Executive Engineer of Nuapada Irrigation Division Sashanka Shankar Nanda said that if there is no rain in September and October, and the water level does not rise in the IPs, the rabi crop will also be affected.He admitted that areas dependent on Lift Irrigation are better than those under irrigation by IPs.