40 % of Indian Population is under drought hit region. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 13 May 2019

40 % of Indian Population is under drought hit region.

40 % of Indian Population is under drought hit region.

India's real-time drought prediction system, nearly 50% of the country is currently facing drought with at least 16% falling in the exceptional or "extreme" category.

Drought-effected-land


Whenever drought hits India, farmers and marginalizes people are the highest affected sectors than others. According to IIT Gandhinagar scientists managing India's real-time drought prediction system, nearly 50% of the country is currently facing drought with at least 16% falling in the exceptional or "extreme" category.
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The drought hit states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, parts of the North-Easy, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. These states are home to 500 million people, almost 40% of the country's population. 

Drought Crisis in several States - Some Data
      
Gujarat is facing a massive water crisis with rising temperature level and severe heatwave. the Scarcity is particularly acute in the Saurashtra region, Kutch, North Gujarat and other parts of tribal areas in central and south Gujarat.

The situation in Gujarat's worst-hit Kutch region, where scanty rainfall and rising temperatures have exacerbated competition for scarce water between farms on the one hand and cities and industries on the other.

Extreme heatwave affected more than 20 districts, towns, and villages. people are not getting water not even twice a week. There are more than 500 villages in 14 districts, there is a heavy shortage of water. people are getting drinking water through tankers.
The current situation is worsened in Maharashtra and Karnataka with 80% of districts in Karnataka and 72% in Maharashtra reeling from water scarcity and crop failure which impact the socioeconomic of the people in the form of livelihood loss, unemployment, and forced migration. 

Nearly, 8.2 million farmers are affected by the drought. All major crops, including maize, soy, cotton, citrus lemon, pulses, and groundnuts have suffered due to poor rainfall. Farmers did not plant any rabi (spring) crop in Beed, Maharashtra due to water shortage. 
Around 75% of the crops in Beed have been destroyed due to water shortage.

How drought occurs?

Drought is termed as any lack of water to satisfy the normal needs of agriculture, livestock, industries or human population.

types of drought-
1- Meteorological drought - in this condition, there is a reduction in rainfall for a specific time period below a specific amount.

2- Soil Moisture Drought- in this condition unavailability of adequate moisture to support the standing crop.

3- Ecological Drought- in such condition productivity of a natural eco-system falls significantly as a consequence of distress induced environmental damage.

4 - Hydrological Drought - in this condition all water sources drying up- from both surface and groundwater (together or individually)

How is Drought man-made?

Drought occurs due to natural causes, yet drought is said to be a man-made disaster in the present context. This is due to:

Growing crops that do not suit the agro-climatology of a particular region. India has been divided into several agro-climate zones and it is recommended that crops that region must be grown. For example, sugarcane in Maharashtra where the interiors face a shortage of water perennially. Also, rice in southern Karnataka and northern Tamil are other examples.
Increasing urbanization has led to indiscriminate use of water by urban centers. This has led to water being pumped from hundreds of kilometres away leaving the sources dry deficient in water.

Lack of water storage structures that cause water that falls during the monsoons to just wash away. Also, the destruction of natural water storage structures due to encroachment.

Today, this led to an acute crisis with farmer suicides, loan build-ups and skewed price in the markets. Also, the poor in the city peri-urban areas have had to resort to polluted sources of water to meet their needs.

what are the challenges?

The available water in all the dams and rivers of these regions is negligible, another major challenge is lack of connectivity in remote other tribal areas where it's difficult to reach out the water availability place due to the severe heat wave. there are hundreds of village and remote areas facing extreme drought, to get the right information about specific water shortage area is quite challenging even for local administration.

Another important factor is that the water people are getting is clean or good for use or not?  shortage of clean water can be affected human life and can lead to several types of diseases.

Drought can be mitigated?

There is a need for proper management which needs a comprehensive plan that not only covers water availability but its judicious use and re-uses along with an overhaul of agriculture systems:

1- Adoption of micro-irrigation techniques by farmers. However, such systems will need to be subsidized to be made competitive for a majority of farmers who are small and marginal farmers.

2- Seechwal model can be implemented especially in acute water deficit areas. This model is currently being extended along the banks of the Ganga.

3- Wastewater recycling facilities in urban and industrial centers to allow for in-drinking uses.

4- Stringent application of water harvesting measures not only at the individual level but at community and village level too.

5- Agriculture practices should focus on more crop, per drop. Government support through Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), soil health card scheme, etc. must be extended to all gram panchayats.

6- Agro climate basis for crop selection should be promoted. this can be done by adjusting MSP by the government.

Conclusion

Currently, the country is facing twin challenges of flood and droughts that recur every year. The government needs to take some tough decisions as far as groundwater, and water conservation is concerned.

Conservation should be encouraged at every level.

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

The Panchayati Raj institutions and Urban local bodies should be aware of every disaster they should be informed by the authorities. 

India has committed itself to achieve sustainable development goals, these are aligned with the Sendai framework of disaster risk reduction to which India is the signatory.

It is thus imperative that India synchronize its efforts so as to meet its target under both by addressing all disasters especially floods and droughts.

Don't you think that climate change needs more awareness? Would you wait for governments to react? Or do you want to contribute to save our home- 'the Earth'.
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