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Normal to above-normal rain this monsoon has ensured that water levels in most reservoirs at high levels this year. In Picture: A man rides his motorcycle through a flooded road during monsoon rains in New Delhi, India August 31, 2016 (representational image).Reuters file

Water may be a bone of contention between states such as Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu leading to frequent protests and violent clashes, but a good monsoon this year since June has ensured higher levels of water at many reservoirs. There are 91 major reservoirs in the country and as of Sept. 8, the water stored was 108.1 billion cubic metres (BCM), constituting 69 per cent of the overall storage capacity.

However, southern region comprising Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have less water in their 31 reservoirs, according to an update by the Union Water Resources Ministry. Central region spanning Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have received the maximum benefit from this year's rainfall.

The good news is that the high levels of stored water marks 97 per cent of the average water storage level witnessed in the last 10 years and substantially higher than last year's level.

The total water storage capacity of the 91 reservoirs is 157.79 BCM and 37 of these reservoirs have capacity to generate more than 60 MW in hydropower.

The Central region with 12 reservoirs has 36.70 BCM of water, or 87 per cent of the total storage capacity of 42.30 BCM.

The abundant rainfall this year has also resulted in an uptick in sowing activity.

"The total sown area as on Sept. 9 as per reports received from states stands at 1,054.49 lakh hectare as compared to 1,012.35 lakh hectare at this time last year," the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in a statement on Friday.

"It is reported that rice has been sown/transplanted in 380.28 lakh ha, pulses in 143.95 lakh ha, coarse cereals in 187.86 lakh ha, oilseeds in 186.95 lakh ha, sugarcane in 45.77 lakh hectare and cotton in 102.13 lakh ha," it added.

The three-month period ended Aug. 31 saw India receiving three per cent less rain than normal, according to data released by the India Meteorological Department.

The overall rainfall was 693.1 mm as against 714.1 mm for the period, according to an IMD update.

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh received excess (20 per cent or more) rainfall, while Gujarat witnessed a deficit of 22 per cent this monsoon.