Global drought conditions raise threat of next crisis – rising food prices and water wars

Posted in: Drinking Water News, Global water resources, Ground Water News, Water Crisis, Water shortage
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Article courtesy of Imtiaz Muqbil | August 14, 2012 | | Shared as educational material only

The long-forecast global water wars are about to become a reality. A 17% shortfall in India’s monsoon rains so far this year is only one indicator of a looming global drought that could trigger ripple-effect problems worldwide. These include increased prices of food crops, speculative activity, growing socio-economic and geopolitical tensions and environmental disasters as multinational agrifood corporations begin to push GMO crops. It will also impact on the aviation industry’s plans to go big on biofuels as alternative sources of energy.

This exclusive Travel Impact Newswire dispatch contains a collection of news items that offer clear indicators of the impending water crisis. These signs of the Wrath of Mother Nature are set to further complicate an already unstable global situation dominated by economic, environmental, financial, social and geopolitical issues. The world does not need any additional man-made problems. Early warning: Those who start any more wars should take full responsibility for their consequences.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association is advertising its Crisis Management Webinars with the question: “Are you ready for the next crisis?” Perhaps PATA can advise on how to prepare for the upcoming water crisis.

Status of Indian monsoon rains:

Ministry of Earth Science, 13-August, 2012 – The country, so far till 7th August, 2012, has received about 83% (with -17% deficit) of its long term normal quantum of rains with large deficit (-21% to -59% or more) experienced over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Rajasthan, East Rajasthan, Gujarat, Saurashtra & Kutch, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Tamilnadu, Puduchery, North Interior Karnataka, South Interior Karnataka and Kerala.

The deficiency to certain extent is attributed to the delayed onset and advance of monsoon over various parts of the country (in a range of 1-2 weeks). The lower frequency of the formation of principal rain bearing cyclonic weather systems (lows and depressions) over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea during the current season (as against the average frequency of about 6-7, only one low pressure area formed so far) is seen to be the main contributing factor for the deficit rainfall distribution observed over the country.

The sowing of all the kharif crops has affected in different States due to the delay in onset of monsoon rains and deficit rainfall received so far during this kharif season leading to the reduction in quantum of sowing by

i) 18.3 lakh ha than last year in respect of rice owing to much lesser coverage in Haryana, West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand etc.

ii) 34.4 lakh ha in respect of coarse cereals due to lesser sowing in Rajashtan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc. and

iii) 13.6 lakh ha in respect of pulses due to decline in acreage in Rajashtan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka etc.

Some area of coarse cereals, jowar, bajra and groundnut are likely to remain unsown in Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Rajasthan and Karnataka.

At the middle of the monsoon season and with deficient rainfall for the country as a whole, the contingency plans are implemented focusing on fodder production, short duration pulses and conservation of moisture for early planting of rabi crops like toria, sorghum and gram etc.

Augmentation of ground water on availability is the only viable option that increases the cost of production for rice over high rainfall deficit regions of Punjab, Haryana and West Uttar Pradesh, where more than 95% of the area is irrigated from the reservoirs where the water levels are significantly low, is likely to be met either from extra allocated power by the Central Government (1000MW allocated) for operating bore wells water lifting devices or through diesel subsidy extended already.

In addition, for the augmentation of the drinking water scheme, the Government of India had already approved assistance of Rs. 424 crore to four most stressed states viz. Karnataka – Rs. 71 crore; Haryana – Rs. 25 crore; Maharashtra – Rs. 200 crore; Rajasthan – Rs. 158 crore. Additionally, a sum of Rs. 38 crore is approved for 3-states viz. Karnataka – Rs. 12 crore; Maharashtra – Rs. 15 crore; Rajasthan – Rs. 11 crore, to deal with the calamity from the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) for augmenting habitation level safe drinking water supplies.

The above information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Planning, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Ashwani Kumar in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

Water level in major Indian reservoirs:

Ministry of Water Resources, 13-August, 2012 — As informed by Central Water Commission (CWC) which monitors the live storage status of 84 important reservoirs spread across the country on weekly basis, the live storage in these reservoirs as on 02.08.2012 was 30% of their total live storage capacity and 46% during the corresponding period in the year 2011.

Keeping in view the possibility of low rainfall and low storage in reservoirs, and the need to change cropping pattern in the Kharif season, the States/ Union Territories have been advised to use available water judiciously, give priority to drinking water supply and irrigation and make use of ground water to the extent possible.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Shri Vincent H. Pala in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

[toggle title=” Indian government monitoring variability of weather phenomena ” height=”auto”]

Indian government monitoring variability of weather phenomena and abnormal weather pattern:

Ministry of Earth Science, 09-August, 2012 – The Indian Government is monitoring the variability of the weather phenomena and development of abnormal weather pattern like drought, flood, flash flood, cyclone, rain induced landslides, heat cold wave, etc. on a continuous basis. Records of past weather events show that extreme values in respect of heavy rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, seasonal rainfall etc. remained unsurpassed in many cases.

Heavy rain events (>10 cm/day) over central India are found to have increased in the recent decades while weak and moderate events are decreasing. The extreme rain events which are becoming more intense in recent years are localized and could be part of the natural variability of the monsoon system.

Spatial analysis of changes in temperature reveals that most parts of the country show a warming trend, except north-western parts of the country, where a cooling trend is observed. The occurrence of heat wave conditions is found to be more frequent in May than in June, while very few heat waves occur in the months of March and April. The spatial changes in minimum temperature are found to be decreasing in most parts of Western Ghats and increasing in most parts of Himalayan region and certain parts of the north-eastern region and such warming is confined to winter and post-monsoon seasons. No such pattern is discerned in respect of other weather phenomena.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) is enhancing its observational network under the modernization plan by installing a network of Doppler Weather Radars (DWR), Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), Automatic Rain Gauge Stations (ARGS), etc. for monitoring abnormal weather patterns and upgrading its forecasting capabilities, so that advance warning can be provided to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ministry of Agriculture to tackle the impacts of the adverse and extreme weather phenomena.

In order to capture the characteristics of the changing weather in real time, state-of-the-art 24X7 monitoring system comprising 14-DWRs, located at Agartala, Chennai, Delhi-Airport, Delhi-Lodi Road, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Machilipatnam, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Visakhapatnam, Lucknow, Patiala and Mohanbari is made functional. Additional DWRs at Bhuj is under commissioning. Current weather information is collected through 675 Nos. of AWS and 775 Nos. of ARGS made functional across the country.

The above information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Planning, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Ashwani Kumar in a written reply in the Lok Sabha. Read more:

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Water news archives. Table of contents – 200 articles – April~August 2012

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