Dams · Monsoon

Bundelkhand: Overview of 2018 Monsoon

Bundelkhand is known as a drought prone region. It is comprised of 7 districts of Uttar Pradesh and 6 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Monsoon rains are crucial. However for past several years, the region has faced deficit rains leading to water scarcity particularly for agriculture related activities. Let us the situation of of Monsoon rain in Bundelkhand this year.

Bundelkhand is part of Lower Yamuna Basin, for which IMD provides rainfall figures in its river basin wise rainfall maps. This basin received 785.4 mm rainfall in 2018 monsoon, 9% below  normal rainfall of 863 mm for this sub basin. IMD needs to provide rainfall figures for each sub basins, including Ken, Betwa, Dhasan etc.


  June-July 2018 Aug 2018 Sept 2018 June-Sept 2018
District Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep
Banda 347.6 353.1 -2 273.8 316.4 -14 151.3 170.9 -11 772.7 840.4 -8%
Chitrakoot NA NA NA 765.8@ 678.8@ 13@ 145.5 207.1 -30 911.3 885.9 3%
Hamirpur 453.4 322.9 40 228 309.2 -26 129 164.2 -21 810.4 796.9 2%
Jalaun 322.7 305.2 6 161 310.8 -48 116.7 158.9 -27 600.4 774.9 -23%
Jhansi 340.6 350.8 -3 232.3 309.9 -25 202.1 177.2 14 775.0 837.9 -8%
Lalitpur 320 407.9 -22 274 358.1 -23 241.5 173.3 39 835.5 939.3 -11%
Mahoba 147.6 309.3 -52 127.2 314.3 -60 65.6 152.8 -57 340.4 776.4 -56%

NOTE: @: For Chitrakoot distrct, figures under Aug 2018 are for the period June-Aug 2018.


  June-July 2018 Aug 2018 Sept 2018 June-Sept 2018
District Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep Actual Normal % Dep
Datia 519.7 308.2 69 188.2 293 -36 238 174.6 36 945.9 775.8 22%
Chhattarpur 414.9 412.3 1 259.3 369.6 -30 212.8 203.1 5 887.0 985.0 -10%
Damoh 599 481.9 24 215.5 399.1 -46 157 190 -17 971.5 1071.0 -9%
Panna 428.6 470.5 -9 257.1 391.4 -34 198.3 210.2 -6 884.0 1072.1 -18%
Sagar 471.4 480.3 -2 239.9 410 -41 166.4 197.8 -16 877.7 1088.1 -19%
Tikamgarh 492 364.7 35 395 332.8 19 402.4 155.7 158 1289.4 853.2 51%

Cumulative District Wise Rainfall Distribution in 2018 (Source IMD)

Budelkhand Rainfall 2018 Map

From these figures from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) it seems monsoon rainfall in Bundelkhand region this year were largely normal. The IMD data shows that out of 13 districts in the region two Jalaun and Mahoba had deficit rainfall with deficit over 20% and two (Datia and Tikamgarh) got excess rainfall, with excess over 20%. Both the districts with deficit rainfall are in Uttar Pradesh and both the districts with excess rainfall are from Madhya Pradesh. Rest of the 9 districts had rainfall within +/- 19% of normal rainfall. In the table below, also from IMD, we have the week-wise, district-wise departure from normal rainfall. 

Week by Week Rainfall Bundelkhand 2018

Rainfall in Bundelkhand-Uttar Pradesh

There was startling variation in the distribution of rainfall as the week by week district wise rainfall table shows. “Banda have received good rainfall almost after eight long years” says Prem Singh Founder of Kisan Vidhya Peeth, Banda, adding that it would help farmers.

As per Sky Weather report, rains in Bundelkhand were on the higher side in 2018 upto Aug. 1 with only very few areas seeing deficit rains. Normally, this region sees 52 rainy days in a year but in the last couple of years, rainy days have only been 25, less than half the normal number of rainy days, says the report.

Pushpendar Bhai of Apna Talab Abhiyan points some glaring facts about the rainfall in the region. “The very character of rainfall in Bundelkhand has changed and it is not helping the farmers whether deficit or excess. He explains that in the beginning it rained well at the time of sowing but did not take break to let farmers plough the field. Then there was a lull period. Finally when it was harvesting time, it rained heavily destroying the crops. Mentioning of significant variation of rainfall within districts and within talukas, the water conservationist reveals that there were areas where rainfall was normal however the neighbouring area kept waiting for rains.

Rainfall in Bundelkhand-Madhya Pradesh                    

As per People Science Institute (PSI) the organization working on water efficient farming techniques in the Bundelkhand region, rainfall was good in MP side of Bundelkhand.

In forested areas inhabited by tribal population, of Panna, Damoh and Chhatarpur districts generally the rainfall was normal here this year” says Seema Ravandale of PSI. She further says that there was delay in onset of monsoon affecting corn farming in the areas but in later part rain picked well helping the farming activities in Shahnagar block of Panna district.

However Anandi Lal a farmer of Mainha village in Gunnor Tehsil in Panna district says that their area is known for rice production which is rainfed, however crops are standing thirsty in the field now, as there has been no rain since Ganesh Chaturthi (Sept 13). 

Floods in Bundelkhand in 2018 monsoon

In the last week of August, water level in lower stretches of Ganga and Yamuna increased significantly following flash floods in Chambal, Betwa and Ken rivers. There was also a flood spell in Betwa river in first week of September. As per reports, about 5 lakh cusecs of water from Matatila dam was released, flooding many villages in along the river in Bundelkhand.

At Sukuwan-Dunkuwan (Kandhari Kalan) in Lalitpur district, 6 herders were trapped in an island and at Jhujhanpura village under Garotha tehsil, Jhansi 8 fishermen had to run to an island to save their lives from the sudden deluge in the river. The 8 villagers had gone for fishing in Betwa river, but got stranded in flash floods.   

Uttar Pradesh IAF rescued 14 people stranded on Jhansi island, a Hindi report says that on Aug. 2 morning the gates of Rajghat and Matatila dams were opened causing flash flood in river Betwa affecting about 50 villages along the course downstream. The sudden rise in water level also trapped the villager in river islands at two locations.

Similarly, there was a flash flood spell in Tikamgarh districts around 25 July, following two days of non-stop rain.  Not just human, but animals too are finding it difficult to survive in a flood like situation.

In Conclusion Though the rainfall in Bundelkahnd in 2018 monsoon season was better than previous years, it has not helped farmers in the region as much as it could. It also seems the rainfall distribution and pattern is changing significantly which would further complicate the ground situation for Bundelkhand people. What is urgently required is local water harvesting structures so that the rain is harvested and maximum amount is stored in soil moisture, local surface water bodies and recharged into groundwater. Unfortunately, the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the Government of India is pushing dubious and destructive projects like the Ken Betwa River Link, rather than quickly ensuring works that would help harvest the rain that falls here.

Composed by Bhim Singh Rawat (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

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