Drought Management Needs More Than Makeshift Measures

If you feel that you’re the hardest hit by the current water cuts you have been facing, then my fellow reader you’re mistaken. India is on the verge of one of the most severe droughts the country has experienced in the past few years. Recently the Central Government has informed the Supreme Court that more than one-third of districts are drought-hit at present. The situation has aggravated so far that activists have written an open letter to the PMO of India bringing light to the alarming situation and raising questions as to what is being done to circumvent the situation. With more than 40% of the total rural population, directly or indirectly, dependent upon agriculture as their main source of Income the situation seems quite hapless. However, the government isn’t sitting idle. PM Modi, met Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday to discuss the drought situation in the state’s Bundelkhand region; whereby the state government probed the centre to raise the disbursements by way of MGNREGS scheme to address the dire situation created by drought and high unemployment levels in the state.

That being said, the Indian Metrological Department last month came out with its first forecast for this monsoon season, predicting that India is set to face above average rainfall this year; 106% of long period average (LPA) to be precise due to fading El Nino effect and the forthcoming La Nina weather pattern. Although the forecast brought a much-needed relief across the country, if India believes that the monsoon will solve the ongoing water crises, few renowned meteorologists beg to differ. As per the data available on the Central Water Commissions’ website the total water available in live storage of 91 reservoirs in the country is just 19% of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs and 77 % of average availability during last 10 years. One cannot even fathom the calamitous scenario that the country would be facing if the monsoons disappoint.

Data available across the web shows that the world would be facing even more volatile weather in the years to come. Ergo, it is imperative that we must find solutions for even longer spells of droughts. Although the current water crises have sparked several water management initiatives being launched across several states, it is important that such makeshift measures become permanent ones.

 

(Views expressed by the writer are personal)

About the Author

Harsh Kundnani
Research Associate at SBICAP Securities
Kundnani is a Chartered Accountant by qualification.