Having started late on June 5 rather meekly, the monsoon was 46 per cent deficient for Kerala as on June 13. A week of good downpour has brought down the rainfall deficiency to 20 per cent as on June 20.

The monsoon outlook is not so discouraging for Kerala, judging by the steady manner in which the rainfall deficiency of the initial phase is being made up by the spurt in downpour these past three-four days.

Having started late on June 5 rather meekly, the monsoon was 46 per cent deficient for Kerala as on June 13. A week of good downpour has brought down the rainfall deficiency to 20 per cent as on June 20.

According to P.S. Biju, director-in-charge at the Meteorology Centre here, “the outlook is good.” He said meteorologists were optimistic about the monsoon falling into rhythm.

Deficiency in south

Six northern districts — Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Thrissur — have already caught up with normal rainfall. The southern districts are deficient in rainfall as on Wednesday. Thiruvananthapuram district is deficient in rainfall to the extent of 75 per cent and Pathanamthitta, 63 per cent.

Late start did not always mean a poor monsoon and its early onset did not mean guaranteed excess rainfall, Mr. Biju said

The monsoon broke over Kerala on May 23 in 2009, which is 13 days earlier than it did this year. But at this time of the year (June 20), the monsoon was 33 per cent deficient in 2009. In 2005, the monsoon onset was on June 7 (against the normal onset date of June 1) and yet the rainfall deficiency at this time of the year was only 16 per cent.

Agriculture Director R. Ajith Kumar said the delay in the monsoon getting into its stride this year had not affected the farming operations in the State in any way. In Palakkad sowing and planting were going on in rice tracts and the rain had come just in time for these initial farm operations.

In Kuttanad and Kole lands, the fields were now being readied for the wet season crop. There was no cause for worry in these regions too. He said the department had been ready with a contingency plan and had stocked seeds for a second sowing in case delayed strengthening of the monsoon damaged the saplings of the first sowing. He said in the hills tracts too the cash crops were in good condition.

Sole worry

The only cause of concern at the moment is the storage position in the hydroelectric reservoirs. As on June 20, the water storage in the reservoirs is equivalent to only 456 million units of power, against 1,398 million units on the same day last year. The water storage in Idukki reservoir is only around 10 per cent of the reservoir’s capacity now, according to Kerala State Electricity Board’s system data for the day.

“But inflow into the reservoirs is picking up. The reservoirs received inflow worth of 30 million units of power during the 24 hours ending Wednesday morning,” an official said, adding that it should not be construed as ‘good inflow’ since the daily inflow could exceed 80 million units when there is very good rainfall in the catchments.