Maithon Dam
Maithon Dam near Dhanbad, Jharkhand.Wikimedia Commons/Jaiprakashsingh

Jharkhand, New Delhi, West Bengal and Kerala may face power crisis by January or February as the water level in Maithon Dam near the city of Dhanbad is receding, which will affect the power generation at the Maithon Power Limited (MPL).

The water level at the dam was 480 acre feet in November 2014, but it has now come down to 462 acre feet, MPL manager (reservoir operation) SK Majhi said, Hindustan Times reported.

The water level is expected to further decline as the dam supplies drinking water to West Bengal and Dhanbad city. The outflow here is more than the per day inflow of water.

"Per day water inflow into the dam is up to 230 acre feet while 400 acre feet is released to West Bengal for drinking purpose. Besides, 15 million gallon potable water is supplied daily to Dhanbad township," Majhi said.

Inconsistent rainfall this monsoon has played a significant role in the decline in water level at Maithon Dam and other reservoirs. Jharkhand is reported to have recorded monsoon deficit of 17% this year, but it witnessed a rainfall deficit of 34% in August and 59% in September.

If the water level in the dam continues to decline, the states that get electricity from MPL is likely to face power shortage by next year. "If water continues to recede in Maithon dam, power generation from MPL will be affected by January or February," director-cum-chief executive officer of MPL K Chandrashekhar said.

MPL supplies 300 mw power to Jharkhand, 300 mw to Delhi, 300 mw to West Bengal and 150 mw to Kerala every day. The plant generates 1050 mw power using 50,000 to 55,000 cubic metres of water from Maithon Dam every day.

MPL has approached the Centre and concerned authorities to address the issues. "We have informed the Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee, Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Union energy ministry about the water crisis in Maithon dam which may lead to breakdown in power generation at MPL," a top manager of the plant told HT.

MPL is a joint venture of Tata Power (74%) and Damodar Valley Corporation (26%). The project has two units each having generating capacity of 525 mw. The first unit was commissioned in September 2011 and the second in July 2012.

The project was started to provide electricity to Jharkhand, New Delhi, Kolkata and Kerala that were facing power shortage.