Monsoons 2016…A Ray of Hope

So All the Meteorological Agencies and Experts in Weather Predictions forecast  that this Year will be above than Average Rainfall this year.

According to the IMD Director , Lakshman Singh Rathore… The Rainfall this Year will be between 104-110 % .  This also include all the drought hit areas.

Also , B.P. Yadav, Deputy Director General of IMD, says El Niño, under whose influence the Pacific Ocean warms up and affects the South Asian monsoon adversely — reached its peak last December. The latest forecast is that the weather phenomenon will continue to weaken during the first half of this monsoon season and then peter out. In the last 65 years, 71% of the monsoons at the end of an El Niño have seen above average rainfall,

Not only this is good for our Agriculture Driven Economy  employing around 60 % of the Country’s Population , but this also gives us an opportunity for us to prepare ourselves to store all the water that is going to be bestowed upon us.

We are in dire need of large scale work that needs to be done for Water Harvesting and government attitude are not helping.

We can very conveniently blame neglect of government in the area of Water Harvesting and Conservation…

It is a government-made disaster. Over the last one hundred years or so, we have seen two paradigmatic shifts in water management. One is that individuals and communities have steadily given over their role almost completely to the state. The second is that the simple technology of using rainwater has declined. Instead exploitation of rivers and groundwater through dams and tubewells has become the key source of water. As water in rivers and aquifers is only a small portion of the total rainwater availability, there is an inevitable growing and, in many cases, unbearable stress on these sources.

Also building of Roads , Apartments and Stone Pavements , Deforestation has caused less and less water to go underground

This dependence on the state has meant cost recovery being poor the financial sustainability of water schemes has run aground; and, repairs and maintenance is abysmal. With people having no interest in using water carefully, the sustainability of water resources has itself become a question mark. As a result, there are serious problems with government drinking water supply schemes. Despite all the government efforts, the number of ‘problem villages’ does not seem to go down. As N C Saxena, former rural development secretary put it recently, “In our mathematics, 200,000 problem villages minus 200,000 problem villages is still 200,000 problem villages.”

Community-based rainwater harvesting — the paradigm of the past — has in it as much strength today as it ever did before. A survey conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) of several villages facing drought in Gujarat and western Madhya Pradesh last December found that all those villages that had undertaken rainwater harvesting or watershed development in earlier years had no drinking water problem and even had some water to irrigate their crops. On the other hand, neighbouring villages were desperate for water. This revealed that rainwater harvesting can meet even the acid test of a bad drought

What makes rainwater harvesting such a powerful technology? Just the simple richness of rainwater availability that few of us realise because of the speed with which water, the world’s most fluid substance, disappears. Imagine you had a hectare of land in Barmer, one of India’s places, and you received 100-mm of water in the year, common even for this area. That means that you received as much as one million litres of water enough to meet drinking and cooking water needs of 182 people at a liberal 15 litres per day. Even in the villages suffering from drought this year, it is not as if there was no rain. Saurashtra villages, the worst affected, also had 100-300 mm rainfall but they let the water go. It does not matter how much rain you get if you don’t capture it. Cherrapunji, with 11,000mm annual rainfall, also suffers from drinking water shortages.

There is no village in India that cannot meet its basic drinking and cooking needs through rainwater harvesting. Figures speak for themselves. The average population of an Indian village today is about 1,200. India’s average annual rainfall is about 1,100 mm. If even only half this water can be captured, an average Indian village needs 1.2 hectares of land to capture 6.57 million litres of water it will use in a year for cooking and drinking. If there is a drought and rainfall levels dip to half the normal, the land required would rise to a mere 2.4 hectare. And, of course, any more water the villagers catch can go for irrigation.

To provide lasting relief against drought the government will need to go beyond promises. It should heed the president’s advice and prepare a concrete plan of action to develop a mass movement for water harvesting.

We are getting chance this time with good rain forecasts. Lets try to save all this water and replenish our resources.


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