Dams · Dams, Rivers & People

How India Measures Water Storages

Govt and media typically report the status of water storage in India using the CWC’s Weekly Reservoir Storage Bulletin, which contain information about just 91 reservoirs in India. In this article we show that the state websites provide information about huge 3863 reservoirs, which even if not sufficient, is a huge improvement over just 91 reservoirs that CWC bulletin includes. We hope all concerned will try to improve the reservoir storage reporting.

It should be added here that this measures only surface water stored in some of the large reservoirs of India. This excludes large number of big reservoirs, lakhs of smaller reservoirs, groundwater aquifers and soil moisture storage. In spite of these limitations, this provides more accurate picture than just the 91 reservoirs of CWC that everyone in India, including media, govt monitoring and policy makers look at.


Central Water Commission (CWC) under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR for short) measures the  level of 91 major dams[I] in country and updates data on its website on weekly basis.  These 91 reservoirs have total live storage capacity of 161.993 BCM (Billion Cubic Meters), spread over 18 states and 12 river basins. The information about previous weeks is also available, upto about one-year-old bulletins. CWC uploads it with a disclaimer: “The Data contained in this Bulletin is as received from the State Government/Project Authorities.”

CWC’s flood monitoring and forecasting website also includes 60 inflow forecasting[II] sites, all related to dams and barrages. These are also supposed to provide levels, inflows and outflows on hourly basis during monsoon, but this information is available in rather inconsistent form.



Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB[III])  monitors the water levels in Bharkhra, Pong and Pandoh dams and publishes the information[IV] of inflow, outflow and water level on daily basis. The gross storage capacity of all three dams (Bhakra 7551 MCM (million cubic meters), Pong 8570 MCM, and Pandoh 41 MCM) is 16.162 BCM. Bhakra and Pong are also part of CWC’s weekly bulletins. Apart from this there is comparative[V] and monthly data[VI] for water levels and releases for the Bhakra and Pong dam.

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Uttar Pradesh The Irrigation and Water Resources Department[VII] monitors the level of rivers in the state under Daily Flood Bulletin 2018[VIII] in tabular format which contains PDF files for everyday gauge reading for 20 rivers from 81 locations. The table also lists reservoirs levels but the column is left blank. The Flood Management Information System Center (FMISC[IX]) Uttar Pradesh also publishes same data on its webpage.


Rajasthan The State Water Resources Department website[X] has information about water storage under Data Room section but the option is not working. 

Gujarat The Narmada, Water Resources and Water Supply Department website contains information about water levels in 203 reservoirs[XI] in excel sheet under Data Bank option. The total designed Gross storage capacity of these 203 dams is 15,760.17 MCM. In addition, there is information for Sardar Sarovar Project with designed gross storage capacity of 9460 MCM. So total gross storage of Gujarat would come to 25.22 BCM and live storage would be 20.33 BCM. These 204 reservoirs include ten listed under Gujarat in CWC’s Bulletin, these ten reservoirs have live storage capacity of 17.191 BCM.

The excel sheet separately carries data for 17 major reservoirs which 12932 MCM designed storage capacity. Similarly there are separate pages for district wise, scheme wise information and total storage in percentage. The same information is available[XII] at Flood Control Cell page. The information is updated on daily basis, but archived information does not seem to be available.

Madhya Pradesh Under Daily Reservoir Bulletin[XIII], the State Water Resources Department provides information about 168 reservoirs with cumulative live storage capacity of 36.415 BCM. CWC’s Reservoir Status Bulletin has information about 6 Madhya Pradesh reservoirs with total live storage capacity of 27.318 BCM, which are included in MP’s list. This information is updated on daily basis.

Maharashtra The Water Resources Department’s Reservoir Live Storage Bulletin provides storage situation[XIV] for Maharashtra’s 140 Major, 257 Medium and 2849 minor projects with live storage capacities of 29.13 BCM, 5.40 BCM and 6.34 BCM, grand total of 40.87 BCM for 3246 reservoirs collectively. Out of these, for 103 major reservoirs, the information is available individually, for the rest, it is available region wise and collectively. CWC’s RSB has information about 17 Maharashtra reservoirs with total live storage capacity of 14.073 BCM.

The website also has a separate page named Pravah[XV] which gives information on live storage of dams, real time location map of reservoirs and informative graphs on utilization of water resources in the state.

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Goa The Water Resources Department, Goa website has River and Dam Level Monitoring[XVI] link containing situation of water levels in 15 rivers and 5 reservoirs since June 1 each year. The maximum storage capacity of the 5 dams is 300.85 MCM. It also has info graphic on percentage of water in the dams, line drawing for level of water in them and discharge of water on daily basis.


Telangana The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board measures and publishes information on the water level in 8 reservoirs[XVII] on daily basis. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs is 16.65 BCM. Out of these 8, the CWC bulletin includes information about Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam, with total live storage capacity of 15.13 BCM.  

The is another Reservoirs Storage Monitoring System webpage which has information about storage capacity of 59[XVIII] major and 73 medium reservoirs but the water levels for most of reservoirs are not maintained regularly. Overall the site has listed 173 Major, Medium and Small reservoirs in Krishna, Godavari, Pennar Rivers basins. The Telangana Water Resources Information System under Hydromet data has option of Reservoir level data[XIX]. The site is currently not showing reservoirs levels but has other useful information about water resources in the state.  

Andhra Pradesh The Water Resources Department monitors water levels[XX] in 28 Major and 65 Medium Reservoirs in the State and publishes the data on website. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs in Andhra is mentioned as 23.1 BCM, these include Srisailam, Nagarjunsagar and Somsila reservoirs with total live capacity of 17.12 BCM, which are included in CWC bulletins. The information, unfortunately is not regularly updated.

Similarly the Andhra Pradesh Water Information and Management System provides information about water levels in 86 Major and Medium Reservoirs[XXI] with gross storage capacity of 27.23 BCM. This website seems to have more regularly updated information. These include Srisailam, Nagarjunsagar and Somsila reservoirs with total live capacity of 17.12 BCM, which are included in CWC bulletins.

Karnataka The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre on daily basis, provides information about water levels and storages in 13 reservoirs[XXII] with gross storage capacity of 23.4 BCM. 12 of these reservoirs (except Varahi with Live Storage Capacity of 228.54 MCM) are included in CWC’s bulletin, these 12 reservoirs have total live storage capacity of 19.4 BCM. CWC bulletin includes two additional reservoirs not included in Karnataka website, namely Vanivilas Sagar and Gerusoppa, with total live storage capacity of 932 MCM. 

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Tamil Nadu The State Water Resources Department website carries link for daily water levels[XXIII] in 20 reservoirs which has gross storage capacity of 5.97 BCM. These include six reservoirs included in CWC bulletin with total live storage capacity of 4.38 BCM The Water Resources Organization, website also shows pictures and maps of reservoirs in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala The State Load Dispatch Centre, Kerala website contains details of water levels in 16 reservoirs[XXIV] in the State on daily basis. The total storage capacity of these 16 dams is 3.54 BCM. Three of these reservoirs are included in CWC bulletin, these three reservoirs have live storage capacity of 2.93 BCM. Three other reservoirs of Kerala included in CWC bulletin, but not included on Kerala SLDC site mentioned above have live storage capacity of 904 MCM.


Chhattisgarh The Water Resources Department, website gives detail information about water levels in 43 reservoirs on daily basis under Reservoir Data section. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs is 6.33 BCM. Two of these reservoirs, Minimata Bango and Ravishankar Sagar with total Live storage capacity of 3.66 BCM are included in CWC bulletin.

Jharkhand There are 46 reservoirs listed under Water Levels of Reservoirs section on Water Resources Department website but there is no mention of date and the information being collected is incomplete as it does not provide information on current water levels in reservoirs, hence this is excluded from the table below. The state Government has also developed an App named Reservoirs Water Level Monitoring System which has access to department officials and staff only.

Odisha The Department of Water Resources webpage has separate section for Monsoon 2018 Information. The section has links for Status of Major Reservoirs[XXV] which provide information about level of water in 7 reservoirs in the state. These are the same 7 Odisha reservoirs included in the CWC Bulletin, with total live storge capacity of 15.328 BCM.

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Bihar The Water Resources Department uploads information about water level in 23 reservoirs[XXVI] in the State on its website on daily basis. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs is 949.8 MCM.

West Bengal The Irrigation and Waterways Department, website provides information about water levels in 13 reservoirs[XXVII] on daily basis, but this does not include information of water storage, hence this is not useful for our current purpose of assessing water storage situation.

Zone wise list of States measuring and sharing current information about water storage levels in reservoirs.

NORTH INDIA Reservoirs in addition to CWC Bulletin reservoirs
SN. State/ Agency No. of Reservoirs Storage capacity, BCM No of Reservoirs Storage Capacity
1 BBMB 3 16.162 1 0.041
2 Gujarat 204 20.33 194 3.14
3 Madhya Pradesh 168 36.415 162 9.10
4 Maharashtra 3246 40.87 3229 26.80
5 Goa 5 0.30 5 0.30
6 Telangana 8 16.65 6 1.52
7 Andhra Pradesh 86 27.23 83 10.11
8 Karnataka 13 23.40 1 0.23
9 Tamil Nadu 20 5.97 14 1.59
10 Kerala 16 3.54 13 0.61
11 Chhattisgarh 43 6.33 41 2.67
12 Odisha 7 15.33 0 0
13 Bihar 23 0.95 23 0.95
14 CWC 91 161.99 91 161.99
TOTAL 3863 219.05

PS: Storage capacity here is live storage capacity in most cases, except in few where only gross capacity were given on the website. The reservoirs listed on state websites for which storage capacity is not given are not included in this table.

In conclusion

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So just from these 12 states and BBMB website, we can get information about water storage position of 3863 reservoirs, not just 91 reservoirs that CWC’s Weekly Reservoir Storage Bulletins include. The total live storage capacity of these reservoirs is about 30% higher than the live storage capacity of CWC monitored 91 reservoirs.

As mentioned at the outset, this is far from complete information about water storage situation in India as this excludes large number of big reservoirs, lakhs of small dams, groundwater aquifers and soil moisture. We certainly need to improve our water storage monitoring system to include all these missing storage figures.

However, what is reflected in this information for 3863 reservoirs is certainly much more useful than what is included in CWC’s weekly Reservoir Storage Bulletin. We hope media friends, policy makers and official agencies, including CWC will start providing such more inclusive and more accurate information of water storages.

Compiled by Himanshu Thakkar, Bhim Singh Rawat, SANDRP (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

End Notes:


[II] http://www.india-water.gov.in/ffs/

[III] http://bbmb.gov.in/index.htm


[V] http://bbmb.gov.in/monthwise-releases-of-water-from-pong-reservoir.htm

[VI] http://bbmb.gov.in/reports.htm

[VII] http://idup.gov.in/

[VIII] http://idup.gov.in/pages/en/leftmenu/en-flood-bulletin

[IX] http://fmiscup.in/DailyWaterLevelDangerLevel.aspx

[X] http://water.rajasthan.gov.in/content/water/en/waterresourcesdepartment.html

[XI] https://guj-nwrws.gujarat.gov.in/showpage.aspx?contentid=1463&lang=English


[XIII] http://eims1.mpwrd.gov.in/fcmreport/control/generatefcmdailyreport?sdate=06/07/2018&dhiStatus=N

[XIV] https://wrd.maharashtra.gov.in/portal/content/default/pdf/contents/home/damstorages.pdf

[XV] https://d1z8le3pdnub92.cloudfront.net/app/0.0.43/#/

[XVI] https://goawrd.gov.in/dam-levels

[XVII] https://www.hyderabadwater.gov.in/en/index.php/more/water-levels-reservoirs

[XVIII] http://cadarsms.cgg.gov.in/fusionChartsReport.do?mode=basinWiseReport

[XIX] http://bhuvan.nrsc.gov.in/governance/twris#.

[XX] http://irrigationap.cgg.gov.in/wrd/dashBoard

[XXI] http://iwm.vassarlabs.com/reservoir

[XXII] https://www.ksndmc.org/Uploads/RL.pdf


[XXIV] http://sldckerala.com/index.php?id=7

[XXV] http://www.dowrorissa.gov.in/Flood/DailyFloodBulletin.htm#Reservoir

[XXVI] http://wrd.bih.nic.in/irrigation_bulletin/reservoir/kharif_2018/06072018.pdf

[XXVII] http://www.wbiwd.gov.in/index.php/applications/reservoirgreport

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