CWRDM warns of 2016-like drought, 90 per cent rain deficit in coming months

Among the 14 districts within the state, five districts are classified as extremely dry, six as severely dry, two as moderately dry, and one as mildly dry.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

KOZHIKODE:  Amid growing concerns, the Central for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) has sounded a warning about the impending threat of a severe drought in the state, evoking memories of the grim situation experienced in 2016. Kerala’s premier research and development organisation has additionally projected a deeply concerning rainfall shortage of 90 per cent or greater across all districts in the forthcoming months.

According to a recently released report by CWRDM last week, the state currently faces a staggering average rainfall deficit of 45 per cent between June 1 and August 17. This alarming shortfall in precipitation, compared to the anticipated levels for this time of year, has raised concerns. Among the 14 districts within the state, five districts are classified as extremely dry, six as severely dry, two as moderately dry, and one as mildly dry.

These statistics underscore the looming threat of impending drought conditions. Utilising machine learning models, CWRDM has projected rainfall patterns for the approaching months, predicting a reduction in both the southwest and northeast monsoons. Contrasting with trends up to 2022, which revealed increasing September rainfall, the current outlook suggests a potential decline this year.

The deviation from normal monsoon conditions during August is attributed to the northward shift of the monsoon trough. When positioned normally, the trough yields significant rain to Central India, with robust monsoon winds creating offshore troughs along the west coast. However, when the trough migrates northward, it brings ample rainfall to Northeastern states, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. This trough’s return to its typical position is expected by August 18th. The positioning and intensity of the monsoon trough significantly influence India’s rainfall patterns. The current monsoon disruption can be attributed to the northward shift of the monsoon trough. CWRDM’s report projects a substantial 79% rainfall deficit compared to the usual August precipitation levels.

The forthcoming months of September, October, and November are poised to experience severe rainfall declines. September is projected to witness a 92 per cent rainfall deficit, while October and November are anticipated to suffer from 97 per cent and 96 per cent deficits, respectively. In light of these alarming findings, CWRDM’s Executive Director, Manoj P Samuel, stressed the necessity for immediate collective action by both government entities and the public to avert the impending disaster.”In response to this situation, it is imperative that we take immediate action to prevent any unnecessary water wastage.

CWRD M has put forth a range of initiatives, including advocating for rooftop rainwater harvesting across all private, commercial, and residential structures, government edifices, schools, and other public establishments, with particular emphasis on areas facing acute challenges.

Substantial awareness campaigns should also be undertaken to educate individuals on the meticulous care and management of these systems. Moreover, we must address the issue of water loss stemming from leakages in current distribution pipelines. Furthermore, we should proactively work on reducing the demand for irrigation water through effective planning and the transition to crops that require less water, as well as promoting drought-resistant varieties,” he pointed out.

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