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50% deficit in June rainfall a precursor to severe drought?

Large deficit can lead to drying up of water resources and decline in groundwater level

Published: 04th July 2019 04:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2019 04:47 AM   |  A+A-

Drought

Image used for representational purpose only (File Photo)

Express News Service

KOCHI:  With Kerala recording a near 50 per cent deficit in rainfall in the month of June, scientists have expressed doubts the erratic rainfall can be a precursor to a harsh summer. According to experts in atmospheric science, the large deficit will have a direct bearing on the overall performance of monsoon, which can lead to drying up of water resources and decline in groundwater level, causing acute shortage of water during summer season. 

According to Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) senior scientist VP Dineshan, the state receives 69 per cent of the monsoon rain during the June - July period. A study of the data pertaining to the past 38 years revealed whenever there was a large deficit in June, the state encountered severe drought, he said.

“Kozhikode district has received only 361.1 mm rainfall from June 1 to June 30, this year. This is the lowest rainfall in 38 years. In 2014, Kozhikode received 471 mm rainfall and that year the summer was harsh.

The state received around 2,100 mm rainfall during the four-month-long Southwest monsoon. The chances of compensating the huge deficit during the remaining three months are low. Even if we receive excessive rainfall it will not help to replenish the groundwater resources. Heavy rain will lead to saturation of the surface soil impeding infiltration. This will lead to high rates of surface runoff,” said Dineshan.

According to him, the deficit rainfall will have an adverse impact on agriculture and hydel power generation. From January onwards the state will encounter a severe shortage of drinking water. 
For a state like Kerala, which largely depends on groundwater, the depletion of groundwater resources can be detrimental.

“The deficit in June is huge, which points at chances of a deficit monsoon this year. The bigger the deficiency the chances of recovery gets lower. The Southwest monsoon extends from June to September and even if the state receives heavy rainfall it may not help to replenish the groundwater resources,” said Cusat Atmospheric Sciences Department head K Satheesan.

Meanwhile, the season’s rainfall data pertaining to the June 1 to July 3 period released by Indian Meteorological Department recorded 48 per cent deficit rainfall in the state. The situation in Wayanad, which recorded 64 per cent deficit rainfall, was particularly alarming. Idukki recorded 56 per cent deficit followed by Kasaragod (55%), Thrissur (52%) and Pathanamthitta (51%)



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