You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » Environment
Business Standard

Nearly 50% of India is currently facing drought: IIT Gandhinagar scientists

The continuing drought will further burden the already depleting groundwater resources of the country

Topics
Monsoon 2019  |  Maharashtra Drought  |  Indian Economy

Press Trust of India  |  Gandhinagar 

crop, farmers, agriculture, drought, farmer
FILE PHOTO: A shepherd walks on the dry Undale lake in Karad, Maharashtra

Nearly 50 per cent of the country is currently facing with at least 16 per cent falling in the "exceptional" or "extreme" category, according to IIT Gandhinagar scientists managing India's real-time prediction system.

This ongoing will pose a lot of challenges in water availability this summer, Vimal Mishra, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here, told PTI.

The real-time monitoring system run by his team, which includes PhD student Amardeep Tiwari, collects weather and precipitation data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which is then used to simulate soil moisture and other factors that contribute to drought.

The results of the simulations, prepared by the Water and Climate Lab at IIT Gandhinagar, are available on the website of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

"About 47 per cent of the country is facing drought -- with 16 per cent facing extreme, or exceptional category of drought -- which we show from our real-time monitoring system that we have developed for the country," said Mishra, who heads the lab.

"Arunachal Pradesh did not get good rain this year, and parts of Jharkhand, southern Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and northern part of Tamil Nadu are under drought," Mishra said.

If these areas experience very hot summer before the onset of monsoon, it could lead to a crisis, he warned.

According to him, the continuing drought will further burden the already depleting groundwater resources of the country.

"We are not enhancing groundwater recharge. On the other hand, drought conditions are making us extract more and more water," he said.

While famine-like conditions are not expected, the drought will have a massive impact on the economy.

"It can create long-term stress, if not mortality for poor, marginalised farmers," Mishra said.

The scientist said global warming and climate change are likely to exacerbate drought in the coming years.

"If our groundwater is not recharged and managed sustainably, we could face a very difficult situation in the coming years," Mishra said, adding that groundwater is being used irresponsibly at present.

"You can reduce groundwater by selecting appropriate crops. If we already have depleted groundwater we should not grow water-intensive crops. For example, Punjab should not be growing rice," Mishra said.

"The government needs to take some tough decisions as far as ground water, and water conservation is concerned," Mishra said.

Conserving water in urban homes is just a drop in the bucket compared to steps that can be taken in the sector, he said.

"Of course, conservation should be encouraged at every level, but the elephant in the room is Eighty per cent of our total fresh water is used in sites, rather than residential sites," he said.

He also stressed the need to equip ourselves better to tackle a drought situation,

"The government thinks drought is a reactive situation, that they will provide a relief only once there is a crisis But with the data available they can take proactive measures to prevent a water crisis," Mishra said.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, February 28 2019. 12:20 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.