Southern region covering coastal Karnataka, Kerala and others face drought like situation

By: | Updated: July 20, 2017 8:30 AM

The southern region to a stretch covering the Old Mysore, costal Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu seem to have no relief and is particularly facing a drought-like situation.

drought in south, drought in Kerala, drought in Tamil Nadu, drought in Mysore, drought in south India, drought in Karnataka, rainfall in south india, monsoon in south india, Karnataka government, water level in south india, Assembly elections in karnataka, india newsRainfall has been way below normal in south interior Karnataka – minus 33 per cent, coastal Karnataka – minus 11 per cent, Kerala – minus 24 per cent and Tamil Nadu – minus 19 cent. (Image: IE)

With monsoon finally arriving in various parts of the country, southern region to a stretch covering the Old Mysore, costal Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu seem to have no relief and is particularly facing a drought-like situation. As per a report by Indian Express, the south interior Karnataka, in 2016, recorded a 22 per cent dip in rainfall during the southwest monsoon season (between June to September). Similar was the situation for coastal Karnataka with percentage dipping to 34, 20 per cent for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The numbers were even worse in meteorological subdivisions of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

A similar situation can been predicted this year as well with India as a whole receiving an average area-weighted rainfall of 343.4 mm during the current monsoon season, but rain has been way below normal in south interior Karnataka – minus 33 per cent, coastal Karnataka – minus 11 per cent, Kerala – minus 24 per cent and Tamil Nadu – minus 19 cent, added the report.

This has severely impacted the water levels in the dams with four major reservoirs of the Cauvery basin in Karnataka — Krishna Raja Sagara or KRS in Mandya district, Hemavathy (Hassan), Kabini (Mysore) and Harangi (Kodagu) — currently have less water than they had in 2016 during the same time.

Following a Supreme Court directive in 2016, the Karnataka government released water from the KRS and Kabini reservoirs to the Mettur dam across the border in Tamil Nadu’s Salem district. The directive triggered massive protests in various regions of the state including Mysore, Mandya and spilling over to even Bengaluru. Indian Express report also stated that during the protest, traffic along the Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway was disrupted as vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration plates were set on fire by pro-Kannada groups who also targeted Tamilian-owned shops and eateries.

With eight months to spare for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the drought-like situation has become big reason to worry for the government. Making it further difficult even the MeT department has predicted no rainfall in the near future. Speaking to Indian Express about the same, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, head of services at the India Meteorological Department said, “There is possibility of some scattered rainfall in south interior Karnataka and Kerala over the coming two days, but it will not be enough to compensate for the current deficit in this area.”

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The paper also stated that the reservoir position is equally unstable in Tamil Nadu’s main dams including Mettur, Bhavanisagar (Erode), Vaigai (Theni) or Aliyar and Sholayar in Coimbatore district. There hasn’t been ample amount of rain in either the Nilgiri (the catchment area for Bhavanisagar) or Anaimalai hills (for Aliyar and Sholayar) of the Western Ghats.

This has also affected agriculture in the region with crops like sugarcane could be hit (both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) and maize (Haveri, Davangere, Chitradurga and Bellary districts are major producers). The output of milk could also suffer as the bulk of procurement by cooperatives in Karnataka is from the Mysore-Mandya-Bangalore-Kolar belt. Even the dairy owners in Tamil Nadu have reported near-flat procurement, with farmers struggling to arrange both fodder and water for their animals.

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