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Monsoon Deficiency in June Down to 33 Percent; 250 Districts Across India Reeling Under Severe Water Crisis

Poor rains in July will worsen the prevailing drought-like situation in the country

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droughts, water crisis
Poor rains in July will worsen the prevailing drought-like situation in the country. Wikimedia Commons

As many as 24 states in the country, including food baskets Punjab and Haryana, have received deficient rainfall in June as the sluggish pace of monsoon raises worries with 250 districts across India reeling under severe water crisis.

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told IANS on the sidelines of an event here that “there is deficit rainfall till now. Let’s hope for the best.” While all eyes are now on the weather god, reports have not been encouraging with private forecaster Skymet predicting a below normal monsoon this year.

Mahesh Palawat, Director at Skymet, said the precipitation in July and August may remain below average. However, Palawat claimed that it will not impact the agriculture sector.

June ended with a rain deficit of 33 per cent. For states like Punjab, it was the first dry June since 2014. The monsoon has missed its scheduled arrival at almost all the places in north India. There are five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, where rainfall has been about 60-99 per cent below the normal.

water crisis, drought
Teams of officers from the Central government will visit and work with district administration in 1,592 water-stressed blocks. Pixabay

India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist Mrutyanjay Mohapatra, who will take over as the next chief of the weather agency in August, said that there will be 95 per cent of average rainfall in July and the overall monsoon forecast will be revised by July-end. It means that July may also witness below average rainfall.

Poor rains in July will worsen the prevailing drought-like situation in the country. Meanwhile, the Jal Shakti Ministry on Monday launched a campaign that will run till November 30 to accelerate progress on water conservation in 1,592 water stressed blocks spread across 256 districts.

The campaign talks about rain water harvesting, renovation of water bodies, recharging groundwater and afforestation, among others issues. However, the Union Ministry has gone into a ‘wait and watch’ mode as far as the current monsoon season and droughts are concerned.

water crisis, droughts
Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Wikimedia Commons

Scarcity of water has become a major issue in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, Bundelkhand that spreads across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and in parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

ALSO READ: Know How Indigenous Methods could Supplement Modern Water Shortages

The Maharashtra government’s much-touted Jalyukt Shivar scheme, in which deepening of streams and ponds is carried out, too has failed to provide water to the people. Water conservationist Vijay Borade called the scheme “unscientific”, saying that digging activities were carried out without studying geological and topographical aspects.

“Just digging deeper does not help you conserve water. There should have been different studies in different areas. At many places in Marathwada, the scheme has caused wells to go dry as digging nullah deeper has led to water flow going away from the wells,” Borade said. (IANS)

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Elephant Death Toll in Zimbabwe Rises to 200 Amid Severe Drought

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return

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Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
FILE - A herd of elephants walk past a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, Oct. 14, 2014. VOA

Zimbabwe’s parks agency says more than 200 elephants have died amid a severe drought, and a mass relocation of animals is planned to ease congestion.Zimbabwe

Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected.

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return.

Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected. Pixabay

Many animals are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water. The parks agency has said 33 people have died from conflict with animals this year alone.

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The agency says it plans to move 600 elephants, two prides of lions and other animals from the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast to less congested parks. (VOA)