Drought Current Affairs - 2020

World Bank: Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate resilient Agriculture in Odisha

The Government of Odisha and the World Bank have signed 165 million USD loan agreement to strengthen smallholder farmers. The aim of the loan is to implement “Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture”.

The loan will help strengthen the resilience of the farmer production and to improve the marketing of their produce. The scheme will be implemented in rural areas that are largely rain fed and vulnerable to droughts

Key Features

  • The scheme is to benefit 125,000 smallholder farmers from 15 districts of Odisha
  • It aims to cover 128,000 hectares of land.
  • The project aims to strengthen the resilience of the small holder farmers against adverse climate. It will help to improve access to resilient seed varieties, diversify towards climate resilient crops. It also aims at improving access to better water management and irrigation services.
  • The project will also support rehabilitation of 532 water tanks and irrigate 91,435 hectares of land.

Aim of the project

The main objective of the project is to support farmers to reduce the current emphasis on food grains, especially paddy and wheat. The project will help to increase the share of high-value and more nutritious products like fruits and vegetables

Significance

The scheme will help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It is one of the major objectives of the GoI’s National Action Plan on Climate Change that largely includes adaptation of climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies.

The frequency of drought in the state has increased to one in five years to one in two years since 2009. In 2019, about 70% of the agricultural land in Odisha are prone to droughts as compared to 40% in 1970s.

India records highest monsoon rains in 25 years

The IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) said that India received 10% above average monsoon rains in 2019. It is the highest in 25 years.

States like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka received 35% more rainfall than the normal. It is the highest recorded rains in the history of these states.

Heavy rains damaged the summer sown crops like pulses, soybean and cotton that were close to harvest.

What caused heavy rains?

The monsoon begins in June and ends by September. However, this year it delayed its retreat. This caused increased rainfall that led to floods. Climatologists believe that climate change is the main reason for the increased floods. However, anthropogenic activities are hastening climate change and resulting in disasters.

Extreme climate in India

India has been experiencing extreme weather conditions in several parts of the country. In July the GoI said that 2,400 people were killed in 2018 due to extremities of the weather.

Deficiency of rains in June

By the end of June, India was 33% monsoon rain deficit. In the past 146 years whenever deficit rainfall in June has been more than 30% it either led to below normal monsoon or drought. Never in the history of India, it has received above average monsoon as it has happened this year.

Significance of South West Monsoon

  • It brings rain to all parts of the country except Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana between June and September
  • The monsoon helps farmers expand areas under winter – sown crops like rice, wheat, chick peas, rapeseed.

Floods

Floods created havocs in most parts of the country this monsoon. According to Central Water Commission that monitors dams and flood levels around 25 stations crossed the HFL – Highest Flood Level till August 2019. The rivers Warna and Krishna in Maharashtra and Karnataka crossed the HFL. The levels were the greatest of those in the past.

Kerala and monsoon

Till August Kerala was under seasonal rainfall deficit of 27%. However, between August 1 and August 7 it received 368% more rainfall than normal that led to floods. Again, after August 13, the state faced seasonal rainfall deficit. This season around 100 were killed in Kerala and more than a lakh displaced.

What made June month dry?

The South West monsoon that sets on June 1 delayed and began on June 9. After being set, the monsoon progressed as Cyclone Vayu. The cyclone disrupted the regular trade winds that are the carriers of the monsoon. This arrested the monsoon in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu till June 21. The warming of Indian Ocean decreased the temperature difference between the land and sea. The disturbance in the trigger of monsoon is also a reason for their delay.