Environment

Monsoon plays truant in food bowl of India; rainfall deficit increases

So far, rainfall in the Indo-Gangetic plain has remained deficient, with last week recording largely deficient rain

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 16 July 2018
Credit: Agnimirh Basu
Credit: Agnimirh Basu Credit: Agnimirh Basu

Monsoon is yet to smile upon the states in the Indo-Gangetic plain, almost 45 days after it reached the country. States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana recorded deficient rain (20-59 per cent below normal) from June 1 to July 11. Last week, between July 5-11, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar recorded largely deficient rain (60 per cent and above).  

Credit: IMD

While Central and Peninsular India have seen 20 per cent and 34 per cent excess rainfall in the last week—July 5-11—northwest and east & northeast India recorded 63 per cent and 49 per cent deficit, respectively.

Credit: IMD

July is a crucial monsoon month, especially for these states in the India-Gangetic plain, which is home to approximately 40 per cent of India’s population and contributes about 50 per cent of the country’s total agricultural production.

According to IMD’s latest forecast, the region has to wait for the week July 19-25 to see above normal rainfall activity, which could reduce the deficit.

Region

Actual (in mm)

Normal (in mm)

Deficit (%)

Bihar

202.5

316.1

36

East Uttar Pradesh

108.5

201.9

46

West Uttar Pradesh

85.8

170.6

50

Haryana

92

106.6

14

Jharkhand

202

336.2

40

Gangetic West Bengal

282.4

386.4

27

Gujarat

152.3

206.9

26

 Unequal spatial distribution of rain

While the overall rainfall deficit in Uttar Pradesh is about 50 per cent, districts such as Azamgarh, Ballia, Kushinagar, Mainpuri and Chandauli have recorded, 69, 77, 86, 90 and 94 per cent deficit till July 13. Similarly, while Haryana’s cumulative rainfall has been normal, districts such as Sonipat and Panipat still have a deficit of 69 per cent and 87 per cent, respectively.

A two-year study, conducted by researchers from china and the US, had concluded that “not only will incidences of climatological and extreme drought increase dramatically in the future, but extreme wet events will also become more probable due to increased variability, indicating that extreme events, including droughts and floods, will become more common in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.”

Drought occurrence frequency in the recent decades (1982-2012) in the Indo-Gangetic Plain region has been 40-45 per cent, according to the study. Drought-affected areas in the region increased from 20-25 per cent before the year 2000 to 50-60 per cent in the following years. Unsurprisingly, the region witnessed a decline in cereal production.

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