Groundwater management is an area where almost all of the world seems to be faltering right now. Like in India, in Texas too groundwater is private property, and its use, regulation and conservation is a complex and often an unsuccessful task. Groundwater is a major source of water in Texas, providing about 60 percent of the 16.1 million acre-feet of water used in the state[i]. Cities like Amarillo, Bryan-College Station, El Paso, Lubbock, Houston and San Antonio use groundwater to supply water for homes and industry.[ii] This year, Texas has seen record hot months and lowering water tables with 99% of the state facing drought right now, and 21% area facing exceptional drought. Jacob’s Well, an iconic artesian spring, has officially ceased flowing for the fourth time in recorded history as a result of the ongoing drought and increased levels of groundwater pumping.Continue reading “Sacred Springs and Kites: Groundwater reaches the skies”
India Meteorological Department (IMD) divides a water year (June 1 to May 31) into four seasons: Monsoon: (June 1 to Sept 30), Post monsoon (Oct 1 to Dec 31), Winter (Jan 1 to Feb 28/9) and Pre Monsoon (March 1 to May 31). For rainfall during all these seasons, IMD’s hydro-meteorological website[i] provides a lot of data on daily basis, including daily district wise rainfall, state-wise, sub division wise and river wise daily rainfall maps among many other weekly, monthly and seasonal products. However, one problem with it is that none of this information is archived. So if you missed seeing or downloading available data on any date, there is no way to look at it even next day. This is even true of the seasonal rainfall maps, unfortunately.
Most observers look at the monsoon rainfall data, which is clearly the most important season, without doubt. However, the rainfall in other seasons is also very important from a number of perspectives.
Here we are giving a detailed account of the pre-monsoon season rainfall that India received in the season just ended on May 31, 2020, including state wise, sub division wise, river wise and also district wise figures. Along with it, we also provide the figures of post monsoon figures for the just concluded water year. For the winter season (Jan-Feb 2020) we have only the figures for Jan 2020 since we missed downloading the Feb 2020 figures. We had already provided the monsoon 2019 figures through two blogs in October 2019[ii].
The Oct 2019 rainfall all over India was 109.7 mm, 44% above normal expected rainfall of 76 mm, following 53% above normal in Sept 2019. The rainfall this month has been unusual and has had some major impacts. One of the reasons has been that the SW monsoon withdrawal continued well into Oct 2019, when it almost always gets over by the end of Sept. There were also several cyclonic circulations and depressions mostly from Arabian sea. Continue reading “44% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019 creates hopes for Rabi, Disaster for Kharif crops at many places”
When I got a call on a Sunday this October 2019 from a journalist of one of the world’s most reputed media inquiring about the Marathwada rainfall and drought this year, I wondered what is going on? South West Monsoon 2019 has seen the highest rainfall of last 25 years and most of the high rainfall happened in Central and South India. Should drought be a concern in this year too?
It’s true, as we wrote[i] in our first blog about SW Monsoon 2019 that Marathwada was the only Meteorological division of IMD (India Meteorological Department) that had a below normal rainfall among all the divisions of IMD in Peninsular and South India. But that deficit was 12%, which should not be alarming. In the second blog on SW Monsoon 2019 we mentioned[ii] that only Beed and Latur districts were in deficit rainfall category. Continue reading “Marathwada in times of 2019 Surplus SW Monsoon”
Guest Blog by Kalyani Thatte
“Our borewells are drying up fast. We have reached to 400-450 ft deep but it is futile most of the times. There are very few wells that are having water throughout the year. The water levels are dropping every year. Tankers are regular in summers. We are not even able to take a Kharif crop at times as it hardly rains and that too when it is required for the standing crops”, this was the narrative told in the first village named Zinnar in Osmanabad. However as I travelled through different villages in different blocks of the district and later on to the districts of Ahmednagar, Solapur, Nashik, Jalgaon, the narratives remained more or less the same. The only change was the names of the villages.
This year (2019), the rainfall was deficient, the monsoon was erratic. But this narrative has been similar for many years. Especially from last 8-10 years the intensity of such narratives is increasing. These narratives made me realise that what is happening is something that is not in our hands. However it also brought forth the factors which are in our hands and which are thanks to ruthless exploitation, are worsening the situation. Continue reading “Groundwater & the tragedy of the commons in Marathwada”
On occasion of World Water Day 2018, SANDRP put together reports of remarkable water conservation work done by individuals, villager community and organizations across the country.
Good that UN report this WWD says[i]: “The efforts by local communities in India to improve water availability have been lauded in a UN report that highlights the importance of finding nature-based solutions to meet global water challenges…. The report notes that reservoirs, irrigation canals and water treatment plants are not the only water management instruments at disposal. It also cited the example of China’s Sponge City which aims to recycle 70 per cent of rainwater.”
But the UN report[ii] does not mention that local options should be the top priority and should be exhausted before going for large projects. Unfortunately, Indian water resources establishment’s priority is Large dams and river linking. The UN report also does not say that local systems are bound to be neglected and destroyed in the shadow of large projects and where the governance is top down, unaccountable, non transparent and non participatory.
Above: Pipelines which supply water to Pune City from Khadakwasla Dam (Photo: Amruta Pradhan, SANDRP)
Urban narrative of Maharashtra revolves predominantly around cities of Mumbai (along with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region i.e. MMR), Pune, Nagpur and Nashik. Dominance of these large urban centres or the big cities over raw water sources is apparent. These cities have per capita water supply much more than the prescribed norms and continue to seek more water allocations. As Maharashtra gears up to fund more and more dams tapping finances from different sources, big cities with growing footprint of water consumption are all set to claim more water from these dams. Continue reading “Maharashtra Urban water sector in 2016: Big cities eyeing big dams”
When the Chief Minister of Maharashtra told the state Assembly on July 21, 2015, “We pushed large dams, not irrigation” he had raised much hopes for the state with a fresh memory of worst ever dam scam and drought termed as “worse than 1972”.
Even though the CM unequivocally said in the state Assembly “Large Dams are not the road ahead”, looking back at year 2016 reveals that the approach of the new government remained as large dam centric. Year 2016 in Maharashtra has been all about reviving the corruption ridden controversial irrigation projects. Continue reading “Maharashtra Water Sector Review of 2016: Revival of scam tainted dams”
“I have harvested Moong (green gram) from my farm, now I’m harvesting Udad (black gram). Their price is crashing each day…I may not get even the Minimum Support Price (MSP)…But I’m not supposed to care about the price… its solely the farmer’s responsibility to reduce inflation and make India a superpower.”
…says Ashok Bhau, a dry land farmer dependent on rainfall and groundwater in the heart of Marathwada: Osmanabad.
Last year his Moong failed completely, there was no seed development and although his Tur (Pegion Pea/Arhar) fetched a very good price, it did not mean anything for the family as the productivity was dismally low following three droughts and dry wells[i]. Like many farmers in Marathwada, he burned his sugarcane on 4 acres after watering it for many months… finally there was no water to sustain it. We had written about soaring pulses last year. Continue reading “This is the time to protect Pulse Farmers in Marathwada”
Above: Red arrows indicate diversion of water from Tata Dams into surplus basin. Source: Google earth images and SANDRP
Since past three years, SANDRP has been raising the issue of West-ward water transfer during drought years by hydropower dams. Maharashtra annually diverts 3324 Million Cubic Meters of water from its water deficit Bhima and Krishna basins into the water surplus Konkan basin for hydropower generation. This happens though 6 dams on Bhima Basin privately owned by Tata Power and the Koyana Hydropower Project. Although drinking water is the first priority for any society and this is enshrined in the National and State Water Policies, there is no system in place to allocate the waters of these dams to the downstream, when there is dire need. During this drought, which is possibly Independent India’s worst droughts, Tata Dams have released nearly no water to the Bhima Basin and Maharashtra Government on its part has taken no stand on this issue.
After raising this issue several times at many platforms, SANDRP has sent a letter to the Prime Minister as well as to the National Human Rights Commission on this issue. If you agree with the points raised in the letter below, please send similar letter to the authorities. Continue reading “Letter to PM: Devise a policy for curbing hydropower water diversions during drought years”