Droughts in India – Recent Scenario YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Droughts in India - the Recent Scenario (2014 to 2017)

Droughts in India - the Recent Scenario (2014 to 2017)

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  • Drought during 2014-2017

  • Hit 500 million people

  • Affected urban areas – towns declared water emergency & resorted to water rationing

  • Occupational hazard has turned into a human-made disaster of unmanageable proportion since organized agriculture began some 10,000 years ago.

  • India is a victim of its own policy that revolves around drought relief instead of working towards relief from drought in the long run

  • Between 1968 and 1992, region witnessed drought in every five years. Between 2004 and 2008, 4 consecutive droughts ravaged the region. Except 2013, all the years between 2009 and 2015 saw deficit monsoon.

  • 33% of India is drought affected & 68% is drought prone

Is Drought Man-Made?

  • Lack of rainfall

  • Lack of water

  • Failing agriculture

  • Non-availability of fodder for animals

  • Lack of planning & foresight

  • Criminal Neglect

  • People living on marginal subsistence – sell their livestock – forms beginning of spiraling cycle of destitution

  • Each drought destroys the ability of rural communities to cope – making them weaker and more disabled to deal with the vagaries of the monsoon

  • Industrialized world: 70% water for industry & 30% for agriculture

  • Traditional Indian Economy: 70% water for agriculture & 30% for industry (agriculture needs water & new that’s industry also demands more)

Cities Need More Water

  • Delhi draws water from Tehri Dam

  • Hyderabad from Nagarjunsagar dam on the Krishna river 105 km away

  • Bengaluru from the Cauvery, about 100 km away

  • Udaipur from Jaisamand lake

Way Forward?

  • Harvesting raindrops

  • Recharging groundwater

  • Build structures for water planning not just employment

  • Update drought code – Countries like Australia & States like California have been cutting non-judicious use of water

  • Secure water in all times & reduce wastage

  • From introducing water-efficient fixtures to promoting water-frugal foods

  • Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) millions of check dams, ponds and other structures were constructed – to provide employment & not to overcome drought – there were holes

  • Olden Days - British-designed drought code meant that water for drinking would be requisitioned by the local administration; fodder for animals would be procured from long distances; livestock camps would be opened and food-for-work programs would be started

  • 2016: Drought and untimely hailstorms or rain, extreme rain with unusual frequency over Himalayas, other places there was delay of rain – brings farmers to debt due to increasing cost of agriculture

Policy Issues

  • Prosopis Juliflora – weed where roots go deep & wood is hard and strong

  • Seemai karuvelam – introduced to afforest South India by Kamaraj to create green cover. Had extensive roots. Madras High court in 2016 ordered uprooting it from the state

  • Karnataka – monoculture of eucalyptus - fast-growing pulpwood.

  • PWD to float the rmocol sheets worth Rs. 10 lakh on Vaigai reservoir to prevent water loss through evaporation but it foiled by wind and water flows.

  • Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka—received highly deficit rains (40-77% less than the annual average) during the winter monsoon

  • 52% of agricultural households have outstanding loan

  • 2015: 12,602 farmer suicide reported that is one suicide every hour that year – maximum from Maharashtra, MP, UP and Tamil Nadu. 87% of total suicides were reported from seven states: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

  • Shift from agriculture to livestock. After livestock, paddy is next highest contributor of agricultural GDP. Closure of all “illegal” slaughterhouses

  • According to 19th Livestock Census, UP had over one million stray cattle, the second highest after Odisha. With cow slaughter banned in the state since 1955, owners often abandoned their old and unproductive animals due to lack of cheap fodder. – Farmers started selling livestock at throwaway prices

Image of Reservoir Level And River Level

Image of Reservoir Level and River Level

  • Kerala declared drought hit for second time in 6 months (first time in Oct 2016) - Thiruvananthapuram administration capped domestic water supply to two hours a day and installed machines for water vending

  • Karnataka faced worst drought in last 50 years – a truckload fodder at usual cost of Rs. 5000, amounted to Rs. 50,000

  • 2016: Kharif (summer monsoon) crops had reduced by 250,000 ha. Only 1.95 million ha were under cultivation during the next season of rabi crops as against the target of 2.7 million ha.

  • Deploy over 13,000 rain guns (micro-irrigation device) and sprinklers

  • 31 reservoirs monitored by CWC had mere 5.61 billion cubic metres of water in April, which was 11% of their total live storage capacity.

  • In Tamil Nadu, water level in four reservoirs, including the largest Mettur reservoir, dipped below the minimum drawdown level (MDDL), below which aquatic life cannot survive

  • Cauvery & Krishna flow 70% below normal level

  • Power Supply was cut off due to water scarcity

  • Over-exploitation of groundwater for agriculture

  • Water trains were started – looted as soon as they arrived

  • 2016: 244-metre-deep bore wells went dry. This is not akal; this is trikal—no water, no fodder and decline in farm produce

  • In Latur, Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code was declared around waterbodies, prohibiting assembly of more than five people at one place

Image of Distance Madhya pradesh to Bundelkhand and Marathwa …

Serperation- Madhya Pradesh to Bundelkhand and Marathwada

  • Maharashtra: In 2014-15, deficit monsoon and unseasonal rains led to decline in the production of food grains, cereals and pulses by 24.9%, 18.7% and 47.0% respectively over the previous year but sugarcane increased by 19%

  • Water crisis caused crop failure, riots, caste violence and large-scale migration

  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (pca) Act, 1960: Sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country was banned. A person might purchase cattle only for “agricultural purposes”, “Cattle” in the notification includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels

  • In Karnataka, the number of bore wells increased from 250,000 in 1996 to 850,000 in 2014 (rise of 365%). In Andhra Pradesh, the area irrigated by bore wells increased 10 times in last two decades


  • Drought Prone Areas Development Program (DPAP)

  • Schemes under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

  • Water harvesting structures

  • Check dam

  • Droughts of 1965-1967 seeded the Green Revolution

  • Maharashtra – highest number of large dams

Image of Schemes Period And Drought Years

Image of Schemes Period and Drought Years

  • Andhra Pradesh introduced the Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Tree Act that made rainwater harvesting structures mandatory in all buildings spread over an area not less than 200 sq m (0.02 ha).

  • The Act also has the provision of penalizing builders who flout the guidelines.

  • In 2003, Tamil Nadu made it mandatory for all new constructions to have rainwater harvesting structures.

  • In 2004, Kerala amended the Kerala Municipality Building Rules, 1999, to introduce rainwater harvesting.

  • In 2009, Karnataka amended the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewage Board to make rainwater harvesting structures mandatory for existing and new buildings

  • Mismanagement of community and temple tank

  • 2014: Poverty line in rural India was people earning Rs.34/day

  • 2016: Government of India Manual on Drought had 6 parameters rainfall, vegetation, hydrological indices, crops situation indices, ground verification of these parameters and others like fodder scarcity and food supply along with 13 sub-points (sings of 3 or more parameters – severely drought hit)

  • 2009 manual had 4 points: rainfall deficiency, extent of area sown, normalized difference vegetation index and moisture adequacy index

  • Farmer protest – farmers demanded agricultural loan waiver and government assurance on better prices for their produce – with historic harvest they got historically low price

  • Govt. fixes MSP for 24 crops but main focus is wheat & paddy

  • In 2015-16, India’s annual food import bill was at Rs. 1.40 lakh crore - 5.63% of India’s total import bill and second only to the country’s oil import bill

  • Government wanted to double the farmers’ income by raising net farm income per unit by reducing the cost of cultivation, increasing yields and ensuring higher returns

  • Regeneration of Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district, with efforts of Anna Hazare for water conservation - Refer Class on Watershed Management -

    Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Watershed Management - 5 Components & 4 Landmarks (Special Focus on India)

    Watershed Management - 5 Components & 4 Landmarks (Special Focus on India)

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, has companion village Hiware Bazar (worked by Poppatrao Pawar)

  • Joint Forest Management Program in 1992 under which 40,000 trenches were dug along the contour of the land in the surrounding forest areas. This helped recharge groundwater and revived the growth of trees in the catchment area. More than 90 water conservation structures, such as nullahs, check dams and bunds

  • Hiware Bazar – under Adarsh Goan Yojana in 1994 – 5 principles - ban on liquor, felling of trees and free grazing; family planning; and contribute village labour for development works – adopted 5 year integrated development model, banned digging of deep borewells in 1990s, 100% literate & highest GDP of village in India

  • Water-budgeting: Based on estimates of runoff generated during rains, groundwater recharged in pre and post-monsoon periods and water available for use

  • Kadwanchi: Jalna district, Maharashtra – In last 20 years, income increased by 700%. Implemented watershed program. Drip irrigation, farmers received training, multi-cropping, organic farming

  • Velu in Koregaon taluka of Satara: 50 km from Kiraksal, is one of the villages that experimented with voluntary labor contribution model last year

  • Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan: Maharashtra - planned to drought-proof all villages by 2019

  • Majhout village in Chhatarpur district of MP: organic fertilizers using cow dung, cow urine, neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves, water, and gram flour. In March 2011, Harit Prayas funded by Caritas, a Rome-based non-profit, started training small and marginal farmers in making fertilizer

  • 1994: Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Watershed Development (RGMWD) had twin objectives—water resource augmentation and land resource development. The scheme was a huge success in Jhabua and transformed it into a model of watershed development – wells, anicut & ponds

  • Government run Krishi Pragati Grameen Bank (KPGB) is the only bank in the country which offers loans for building recharge structures.

  • Chhapariya village of Udaipur district: Every family in the village was assured 2 tons of fodder every year. This was because of a common pasture land which a non-profit developed to help the village residents cope with five consecutive droughts it faced between 1999 and 2004.

Village and state and corrresponding income increase and tim …

Village and State and Corrresponding Income Increase

  • Shift from water-intensive to water-efficient crops

  • Encourage diversified cropping

  • Water-saving techniques like drip irrigation, mulching and furrow-irrigation

  • Check dams, percolation tanks and injection wells were also set up

  • Crop-Water Budgeting: Information about intended cropping patterns and calculated water consumption based on acreage

  • Reduce water guzzling crops and go for low water use crops

  • July 2017: Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare declared that the acreage under kharif sowing was 7% higher than the preceding year. Marathwada region, received more than 150% of normal rainfall within 15 days of the arrival of monsoon. Latur received almost 182% more than the normal rainfall; Osmanabad 199%; and Beed 178%. Water tankers disappeared.

What the Focus Is?

  • Focus on irrigation

  • Provide quality seeds

  • Increase soil health

  • Avoid post-harvest losses by building warehouses and cold chains

  • Add value through food processing

  • Have a single national market

  • Provide crop insurance coverage to face weather uncertainties

  • Add ancillary activities like poultry to farming

  • Gain access to local resources, such as traditional tanks and ponds or common grazing land – remove ecological poverty (lack of natural resources and not as income poverty)

  • Community organizations

Focus on Problem Villages with No Drinking Water

4-Stage Formula for Drought Proofing

Image of 4-Stage Formula for Drought Proofing

Image of 4-Stage Formula for Drought Proofing

  • If individual consumes 8 litres of water a day, an average village requires almost 3.80 million litres of water a year for drinking and cooking purposes. This means an average village would require 0.17 ha to catch this rainfall even if half the average rainfall was captured.

  • Water-surplus areas, people harvested monsoon runoff by capturing water from swollen streams and stored it in zings in Ladakh, ahars in Bihar, johads in Rajasthan and eris in Tamil Nadu

  • Smaller watersheds yield more water per hectare of catchment area. Simply explained in water scarce area, 10 tiny dams with a catchment of 1 ha each would collect much more water than one larger dam with a catchment of 10 ha.

  • Build social process that precedes each structure to build social capital – create awareness, social mobilization, build proper structure with innovation

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