Main Causes of Drought

Droughts in India occur due to late onset, early withdrawal, or failure of active monsoon, resulting in insufficient precipitation (or dry spells) with uneven temporal distribution during crop growing season (Kumar, 1986). High interannual and spatial variability in the monsoon rainfall (except in some areas, such as western coast and northeastern India) also influences crop production adversely.

Table 23.2 Impacts of extreme drought conditions in India during !998-2DDD

Impact of drought

1998

1999

2CCC

Number of villages

2CC69

234C6

3C583

Population affected (million)

22

26

33

Cattle affected (million)

296

345

4CC

Damage to crop

(Million ha)

65

78

9C

Value (in million US $)

5C

76

136

Rainfall deficit

-3%

-16%

-29%

The El NiƱo/Southern Oscillation (ENSO; chapter 3) weakens the summer monsoon and is related to drought occurrence in India (WMO, 1994). During the period from 1871 to 1988, 11 of the 21 droughts were attributed to ENSO phenomenon (WMO, 1994).

Subsidized electricity for irrigation systems operating in drought-prone areas has led to overexploitation of groundwater for cultivation of crops like cumin, mustard, wheat, vegetables, and fruits that earn farmers higher profits. Similarly, subsidized diesel fuel in the country has led to a spurt in tractor farming, increasing wind erosion, and deteriorating stability of natural grasslands. This has also contributed to drought and desertification phenomena.

0 0

Post a comment