Six regions of India facing prospects of crop failure and drought?

IMD rainfall map for July 13, 2015
IMD rainfall map for July 13, 2015

At least six of the 34 Meteorological divisions of India seems to be facing the prospects of crop failure and drought, if we look at the rainfall in these divisions in last 18 prime monsoon days from June 25, 2015 (monsoon had set in almost all over India by that date) to July 13, 2015, the latest date for which division wise rainfall are available. In these six sub-divisions, the rainfall during these 18 prime monsoon days has been between 0.1 mm to 12.8 mm.

These divisions, as can be seen from the table below, are: Marathawada and Madhya Maharashtra (both from Maharashtra), Gujarat Region, Saurshtra and Kutch (coving whole of Gujarat, Dium Daman and DNH) and North Interior Karnataka and Rayalseema. While almost all of these divisions are traditionally low rainfall and drought prone region (with possible exception of Gujarat region and Madhya Maharashtra), this paltry rainfall in prime monsoon period of 18 days is likely to affect the crops and there could be drought in these regions if rainfall continues to elude them. The governments at the centre and states need to urgently take measures to address the issues arising from this situation.

(rainfall in mm)

Met Division Rainall on Rainfall in 18 prime monsoon days
June 25, 2015 July 13, 2015
Marathawada 116.4 (2) 124.2 (-41) 7.8
Madhya Maharashtra 173.4 (56) 183.5 (-25) 10.1
North Interior Karnataka 86 (3) 98.8 (-37) 12.8
Rayalseema 60.8 (3) 69.8 (-30) 9
Gujarat Region,  DNH, Daman 135.2 (53) 138.1 (-48) 2.9
Saurashtra, Kutch & Diu 136.3 (120) 136.4 (-12) 0.1

Note: 1. Source of all figures are IMD website: http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/Monsoon_frame.htm

  1. Figures in the bracket are % actual rainfall compared to normal rainfall.
IMD Rainfall Map for June 25, 2015
IMD Rainfall Map for June 25, 2015

Some remarks about the rainfall figures in the table above:

  • The figures in the bracket in all these divisions on June 25 are positive and they are all negative as on July 13, 2015.
  • The rainfall was as high as 120% (Saurashtra & Kutch), 56% (Madhya Maharashtra) and 53% (Gujarat Region) above normal on June 25. All the regions were in green or blue colors in IMD maps for June 25, 2015.
  • The deficits by July 13 were as high as 48% (Gujarat Region), 41% (Marathawada), and 37% (North Interior Karnataka). Five of the six divisions are in brown in IMD rainfall map for July 13, signifying deficits above 20%. Saurashtra has relatively lower deficit of 12%, but this region has had the least rainfall in these 18 days at just 0.1 mm and it had a huge 120% surplus on June 25.
  • The rainfall deficit of Marathawada, Gujarat and North Interior Karnataka is so high that it is unlikely for these regions to get into green zone, it seems at this stage.
  • With national rainfall being 97% of normal till July 13, it seems monsoon is on track, but in reality, national figures clearly camouflage the divisional reality. Similarly, divisional figures also do not really reflect the local reality and we need at least block wise rainfall figures to understand local reality better.
  • While the two prominent national monsoon forecasts from IMD and Skymet are giving opposite pictures, it is the local forecasts that would help, but are still far away from such prospects.
  • These six divisions are not the only one facing these prospects, parts of other divisions could also be facing such prospects, but that is a matter of further work.

How each of these regions will cope with this paltry rainfall during the 18 prime monsoon days will depend on a number of local situations. For example areas close to rivers or major irrigation projects and canals may be better able to cope with this deficit, the areas away from such sources and particularly those with low and unusable groundwater levels will be the worst sufferers. While we hope that these regions soon get adequate rainfall, we also hope the governments will not wait for that and take urgent steps in these regions.

SANDRP (ht.sandrp@gmail.com, parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com)

2 thoughts on “Six regions of India facing prospects of crop failure and drought?

  1. If anything that we could not do much in all these years is drought. We need to have a sustainable plan to mitigate drought affect on people and environment. I was part of one such effort in Central India on drought proofing since we can not modify monsoon trends. This approach is economical and measurable so that it can be easily replicable. Unfortunately we have yet to gather ourselves on this issue. Rather combating drought one should plan for drought. This is what we do in Gujarat.


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