Agricultural drought in Karnataka looms despite good rains and floods
Dry spell in 16 out of 30 districts is a cause for worry for farmers.
BENGALURU: Although good rainfall in catchment areas of the state has helped in preventing another year of hydrological drought, dry spell in 16 of the 30 districts of Karnataka in July is now threatening an agricultural drought in the State. The dry spell -- which is expected to continue for another week at least -- will be detrimental to farming community especially in North Karnataka region, where soil moisture levels have nose-dived, affecting the kharif crop.
While command areas of various rivers and reservoirs will not be affected, agricultural activities will be hit in the cultivable rain-fed areas (agricultural drought) — which comprise 75 per cent of area under cultivation. Weakening monsoon, as it grows in strength in the Himalayan region, has added to the woes of the farmers expecting good rainfall during the period.G S Sreenivasa Reddy, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell, told The New Indian Express that since most of the dams in the state were filled, the state will not face a hydrological drought — characterised by low water levels in reservoirs — this year. “However, if dry spell and unequal spatial distribution of rainfall continue, it will cause an agricultural drought,” he said.
Another factor for concern was the dip in soil moisture levels, essential for good yield of crops. “Except in Malnad region and command areas of major rivers, soil moisture level is low. Until the State receives rainfall, moisture levels are expected to remain so,” he said.While most of the districts had received either normal or excess rainfall in June, 16 of the 30 districts received deficient rainfall in July. While 10 of the 16 districts are from North Interior Karnataka, Bengaluru Urban is among the six districts with deficient rainfall in South Interior Karnataka.
C S Patil, Director In-charge, Indian Meteorological Department, Bengaluru, said only western parts of Karnataka have received good showers. “There has not been enough rainfall in the eastern part, consisting of districts such as Ballari, Raichur, Yadgir and others. It is likely that these regions will face agricultural drought,” he said. Systems that formed in Bay of Bengal were not strong enough to cause rainfall in the eastern parts of the State,” he said.
Farming activities will be hit in the cultivable rain-fed area due to low soil moisture content, eventually affecting the yield
This is characterised by low water levels in reservoirs, and usually precedes an agricultural drought