TAG: GS 1: GEOGRAPHY
THE CONTEXT: According to a recent report from the Central Water Commission (CWC), water levels in southern states’ reservoirs are low compared to last year and compared to other regions of the country in 2023.
CURRENT WATER RESERVE STATUS:
- Reservoir Levels:
- A concerning decline in water reserves across southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu has been highlighted.
- The collective storage capacity of 53.334 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) has seen a sharp drop in recent months.
- Decrease in Reservoir Stocks:
- Over the past two months, water reserves have declined from 48% to 44% of the total storage capacity.
- This is notably lower compared to last year when the reserves were at 87% of the total storage capacity.
REASONS FOR LOW WATER STOCKS:
- Erratic Monsoon Patterns:
- The 2023 southwest monsoon exhibited significant irregularities in rainfall patterns.
- The south peninsular region experienced severe rainfall deficits during June, July, August, and September, cumulatively resulting in an 8% deficit compared to the normal average.
- Drier October:
- October remained exceptionally dry in southern India, recording the sixth driest month in 123 years.
- This month (November) typically witnesses significant rainfall due to the retreating southwest monsoon and the onset of the northeast monsoon.
- Cyclone Hamoon’s development in the Bay of Bengal disrupted rainfall patterns, contributing to a 60% cumulative rainfall deficit.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT AND FUTURE CONCERNS:
- Agricultural Impact:
- The low water reserves pose an immediate threat to irrigated farming, especially water-intensive crops like paddy.
- States like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu heavily rely on water for agriculture, and the shortage could significantly impact crop yield.
- Drinking Water Scarcity:
- The declining reserves may lead to a scarcity of drinking water in the coming months, affecting both rural and urban populations.
- Potential Drought Declaration:
- Karnataka has started identifying drought-hit areas, hinting at the possibility that other states might soon follow suit.
- The situation might exacerbate the agricultural crisis, especially with new governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana facing the challenge of managing water shortages.
AREAS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE ATTENTION:
- Irrigated Farming:
- Urgent attention is needed to address the impending crisis in irrigated farming, primarily focusing on water-intensive crops like paddy.
- Drinking Water Supply:
- Ensuring adequate drinking water availability is crucial, necessitating proactive measures to manage water resources efficiently.
- Government Response:
- Newly formed state governments face a challenge in managing the agricultural crisis caused by water shortages and will require effective strategies to mitigate the impact.
- The depletion of water reserves in southern India poses severe challenges to agriculture, drinking water supply, and the overall economy of the region.
- Immediate action, including water conservation measures, efficient agricultural practices, and governmental intervention, is essential to mitigate the impact of the water shortage and prevent further crises in the region.