India drought-hit: Save water, every drop is valuable

Weather extremes in summer are purely man-made: Study.

New Delhi, March 1: This year India would experience the hottest summer recorded since 115 years, across the country. Even this January was recorded as the eighth warmest in the last 116 years.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), several states are likely to witness heatwave conditions. The IMD also said that the north-west region of India would be worst affected by the high temperatures of more than one degree Celsius above normal. Temperatures are likely to be a degree Celsius above normal, in the rest of the country.

“Above normal temperatures up to one degree Celsius are likely to prevail over all meteorological sub-divisions of the country, except the north-west India where temperatures are likely to be more than 1 degree Celsius above normal,” the IMD said.

Drought at its depth

It is estimated that approximately, 330 million people are affected by drought in India. Moreover, the country reels from severe water shortages and poor farmers may even suffer crop losses, according to the government.

The severely drought-hit states include Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana. That means the more than 90% of India is drought hit, the hardest fact. The core heatwave region includes Marathwada, Central Maharashtra and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra and coastal state of Andhra Pradesh.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had already declared Tamil Nadu as drought-hit, based on an assessment made by the state government. The declaration came after farmers protested outside the Trichy collector’s office. There were around 40 farmers, holding dead rats in their mouths. They also claimed that over 47 farmers had committed suicide in the state during the previous months.

Last rain in Karnataka was in August. Though not declared drought-hit, 136 of the 175 taluks in the state are found drought-hit. Karnataka also faces severe drinking water scarcity.

The neighbouring Kerala has got their last rain six months ago. No monsoon has reached Kerala this year, except a few occasional showers, that too in certain selected areas in the state. Kerala has begun to witness and experience its hardest drought it has ever experienced since its formation in 1956. As Kerala become drought-hit, wild animals have started barging into human settlement areas, in search of food and water. This has actually put the lives of people, in the neighbouring areas of forest, in danger.

When drought become disastrous 

AS per records, 2016 has been indicated as the hottest year since 1901. A place called Phalodi in Rajasthan has recorded 51 degree Celsius, the highest ever recorded temperature in India. During last year, more than 1,600 people died due to extreme climate conditions and natural calamities. Among them, approximately 700 people died of heatwave conditions and thereby sunstrokes.

“The country averaged monthly mean temperature during January 2017 was also significantly above normal with anomalies of 0.67 degree Celsius, which is the warmest ever since 1901,” the IMD said.

Save each drop of water. Every drop is valuable.