Kerala may be declared drought-hit.
Alarmed by this year’s scanty rainfall and the drying up of water reserves in several parts of the State, the office of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has forwarded a recommendation to the State government to this effect.
The scarce northeast monsoon has failed to make up for the shortfall in the southwest spell during the past two years.
The southwest monsoon’s share of rainfall this year was the lowest in the last seven years.
The entire State has not been declared drought-hit in the recent past. The rain deficit during the successive monsoon spells is posing unprecedented challenges before Kerala, disaster management experts point out.
The overall shortage of rain during the northeast spell till December 10 this year is 35 per cent. This year’s southwest monsoon was deficient by 24 per cent. The average rainfall the State received from the two spells last year also fell short of expectations, officials said.
The southwest monsoon accounts for a major portion of the State’s annual rainfall. On a normal southwest season, the State gets 2,040 mm of rainfall. However, it rained only 1,551 mm this year. The northeast spell brought only 303 mm till December 10 against the normal 464 mm.
Taking a grim view of the reduced rain activity and the shortage of water, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Wayanad and Idukki were declared drought-hit districts by the end of the southwest monsoon itself.
Fragmented showers received in these districts during the second spell starting October 1 have helped only in reducing the drought intensity.
The State has also put Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta on red alert as the two districts also witnessed alarmingly reduced rain activity. Kerala has sought a Central assistance of Rs.1,995 crore on account of the failed southwest monsoon this year.
This year, the northeast monsoon has failed Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta districts most, as they have clocked a 54 per cent deficiency. The scarcity is 53 per cent in Malappuram.
The other most rain-deficient districts are Kasaragod (48 per cent), Thrissur and Palakkad (38 per cent each), and Kannur (26 per cent).