Drought in India

Photo Credit: archive.indianexpress.com

India is likely to surpass china in 2022 to be worlds most populous nation. This fact should bring sense of responsibility among citizens not only towards controling population growth but to prepare better for water needs during droughts. India has poor water conservation and distribution network. India has worlds 2nd largest pool of cultivable land and 72% of population dependent on agriculture sector. However, 67% of India’s geographical area is vulnerable to droughts. The probability of occurrence of a drought is about 35% ranging from 20% in dry-humid regions to 40% or more in arid regions. Past studies show following Frequency of Occurrence of Drought in India.

In some parts of India, the failure of the monsoons result in water shortages, resulting in below-average crop yields. This is particularly true of major drought-prone regions such as southern and eastern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana. Sever droughts in Past, have periodically led to major Indian famines, including the Bengal famine of 1770, in which up to one third of the population in affected areas died; the 1876–1877 famine, in which over five million people died; and the 1899 famine, in which over 4.5 million died. India is a water stressed country, ground water development in certain parts of country is over-exploited. India needs to develop resilience to droughts through community participation and early serious enagement with governments, opposition and press. Some of the initiatives that can be handled at community level include:

1. Identifying and developing the natural water bodies including ponds.

2. Identifying and developing the surface storage area across country.

3. Identifying and developing artificial ground water recharge points.

4. Identifying and metering all ground water extraction points.

5. Develop modern irrigation system.

6. Develop forests for soil conservation and ground water recharge.

7. Zero Ground water contamination needs to be enforced.

8. No habitation should be allowed to use water more than it can recharge.

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