Staff Reporter

KATTAPPANA: There is a considerable fall in the quantum of rain received in Idukki district in June when compared to the same period last year. Last year, the rainfall recorded during the period was 69 cm. It was 32 cm this time, official sources said.

In the catchments of the Idukki hydroelectric project, the rainfall this year was 401 mm when compared to the last year’s record of 711 mm.

Sources say the availability of drinking water will also be affected as the quantum of water absorbed by the soil has also gone down. In the areas where the availability of drinking water is affected, the six-month period beginning June is considered favourable. However, the situation is not favourable this time, they said. Water levels at various reservoirs (drinking water projects) are not satisfactory this season and water sources including streams and rivers are yet to attain full flow, sources added.

“As the monsoon season is yet to pick up in the district, it will be a blow to farming, which is a major source of our income,” says Jose Thomas, a cardamom planter.

The climate is believed to be favourable for cardamom plants. But, the crop being sensitive to climatic changes, one can be sure about the increase or decrease in cardamom production only after a month, Mr. Thomas said.

An Agriculture Department official says the climate is unfavourable for coffee and pepper crops and there is a considerable fall in the production levels.

A report published by the Cardamom Research Centre at Pampadumpara says there is a 60 per cent fall in the production of pepper this season. “The prices of coffee beans and pepper have not reached the expected level and summer rain during the last harvest season had destroyed the crops,” Krishnan, a farmer, says.

The drop in the production of crops this season will have an economic impact on people who are faced with a general rise in the price of essential items, he adds.

Though it rained for two days, it tapered off in the following days. Official sources say the rain received in the district during June was the lowest in ten years.

Unlike the Mullaperiyar dam, summer rain had little impact on the water level in the Idukki reservoir.

The water flow in the Periyar is also low when compared to last year, an engineer at the Dam Monitoring Cell at Cheruthoni says.

If the situation continues, the production of power will be severely affected, he said.