Rainfall in the week ended August 29 was about six per cent more than normal and the best weekly rains in the southwest monsoon season this year. This helped ease concern on drought across several parts of the country.
According to the Central Water Commission, as of on Thursday, water levels in major reservoirs across the country stood at 61 per cent of the full reservoirs level and 82 per cent of last year’s level.
B N Goswami, director of Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, told Bloomberg that from September 3 to September 12, the southwest monsoon would be in an “active phase”, and this would reduce the overall monsoon deficiency to less than 10 per cent by mid-September. As of on Thursday, rainfall deficiency was 12 per cent.
L S Rathore, director general of India Meteorological Department (IMD), said rainfall in September would be better than what was estimated earlier. In its last forecast, the IMD had stated rainfall in September would be less than that in August. In the previous week, rainfall was two per cent below average.
The recent rainfall has assuaged farmers’ concern as it has aided the sowing of paddy, pulses and oilseeds, and this has also provided a breather to the government. It is expected that an empowered group of ministers would review the overall rainfall situation in the country next week.
The country had last recorded a drought in 2009, when the June-to-September monsoon rainfall was 22 per cent below the average. That year, India had to import sugar, pushing global prices of the commodity to 30-year high.
Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna had told reporters that fears of the El Niño weather phenomenon — which occurs in the Pacific ocean — affecting the monsoon in September had receded considerably.
Experts said at this stage, the distribution of rainfall was vital, as crops were in the growing stage and needed rains at regular intervals.