Anantapur drought due to location

No improvement in rainfall even after cloud seeding was done.

Nellore: Drought proofing measures costing hundreds of crores of rupees in Rayalaseema have not helped the region overcome the ramifications of this natural calamity. There was no improvement in the rainfall data even after cloud seeding was taken up four years ago since the area is under rain shadow zones.

During the last 139 years, Anantapur district received normal and above normal rainfall during 70 years (not serially or consecutively) and deficit rainfall in 69 years. The annual average rainfall of the district is 552.3 mm.

The rainfall’s intensity, frequency, pattern and distribution are highly erratic during most seasons, according to records with the authorities. Anantapur has been reported to be the second lowest rainfall receiving district in the country after Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

The normal rainfall for the south west monsoon period is 338.4 mm which forms about 61.2 per cent of the total rainfall for the year. The annual rainfall of the district ranges between 335 mm (1985) to 823 mm (1996) with an average of 548 mm (Standard Deviation: 129 mm and co-efficient of variation of 24 per cent) which highlights a high degree of inter-annual variability in rainfall pattern, official sources said.

The seasonal rainfall due to the southwest monsoon (June- September) ranged between 135 mm (1994) and 641 mm (1988) with an average of 323 mm (Standard Deviation of 118 mm and co-efficient of variation of 37 per cent).

The district also receives rainfall due to the north east monsoon which ranges between as low as 30 mm (1989) to as high as 332 (1975) mm with an average of 155 mm (Standard Deviation of 65 mm and co-efficient of variation of 42 per cent.

The high variability in the southwest monsoon is an indication of the risks associated with farming in this district. Out of 40 years of data analysed for a pattern in the annual rainfall, there are 23 near normal (-19 to +19 per cent of normal), 9 deficit (-19 per cent of normal) and 8 excess (19 per cent of normal) rainfall years.

During the southwest monsoon season, the district's rainfall was near normal in 13 years and deficit in 16 years and in excess for 11 years. There was no consistent declining trend in the annual and seasonal rainfall in the district.
On the contrary, there was a slight increasing trend in annual and southwest seasonal rainfall, which is statistically non-significant, farmer and analyst D.Venkatrami Reddy observed.

The normal onset of monsoon is around June, which can be delayed until August. The peculiar location of the district -- being far from the east coast and cut off from the Eastern Ghats ? has the monsoons skipping the region during both the seasons and often resulting in severe drought.

A major concern in the district is the falling ground water levels. The district average water level is available at 19.53 mbgl. The district also experienced seven ground water drought periods during the last 14 years. The total groundwater resource available as on November 30, 2014 is 1,44,156 Ha.m (50.87 TMC).

Utilization is 114156 Ha.m (40.29 TMC). During this period there was a
decline in the ground water level from 6.77 m to 21.99 m with a net ground
water fall of 15.22 m. With connectivity to tanks already cut, and most of them having disappeared into the urban areas, ground water sources had a
further steep fall, according to a report.

RDT ecology director Dr.Malla Reddy recalled how drought is not a new phenomenon for the region: the history books say that starvation deaths were reported 140 years ago.

"Perennial irrigation sources through Handri Neeva Sujala Shravanthi and Galeru Nagari projects alone can overcome this situation," he said, adding that the Rayalaseema region would need proper allocations from the Krishna river.

Groundwater officials said that the ground water had got recharged at a few locations through the HNSS canal and connecting reservoirs at Pathikonda and Jeedipalli in the region.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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