Kochi facing drought-like situation

FAMILIAR SIGHT: Women waiting for water at a public tap in Vypeen. File Photo  

With the skies refusing to pour over Kerala, the State is heading for a drought and Kochi is one city that would be feeling the heat very soon.

Rain deficiency in Kochi is higher than the State average for the period between June 1 and August 1.The latest rainfall figures released by the Indian Meteorological Department on Thursday for the two months period indicated a deficiency of 42 per cent in the State. In Kochi, the rain deficiency was 43 per cent.

Kochi received 785 mm rain for the period against the normal of 1,384 mm. Parched farmlands, receding water levels in rivers that feed the drinking water supply pipelines and increased atmospheric temperature are awaiting Kerala, especially Kochi.

Like the past few days, Wednesday also passed off as a dry day for the city and no rain was recorded in the rain gauges installed at the Kochi airport, Aluva, Paravur, Piravom, Perumbavur, Cochin International Airport Limited and Ernakulam South.

The drying up of small streams that run into Periyar would be the immediate impact of the dry weather situation, said Sunny George a water management expert. All the major rivers of the State including Periyar, Muvattupuzha and Chalakudy are rain-fed ones and reduced rain activity will affect these rivers.

Intrusion of saline water to interior areas of the district is awaiting the district. Wells in the interior areas will be affected in the process. Drinking water supplied through piped system would be hit with the reduced rain and increased salinity. Pollution levels in the water bodies would increase as there would not be any dilution of pollutants through rain water, he said.

The agricultural scenario of the State too faces a bleak future. Rain-fed agriculture would be in peril with the shortage of rain water. Moreover, the soil structure and chemistry would change in the absence of rain, Dr Sunny pointed out.

Kerala received 809.5 mm rain during the period between June 1 and August 1 against the normal of 1,395.3 mm. This season, rain was recorded as deficient in all districts except Wayanad. The deficiency in Wayanad was 68 per cent as the district received only 586.4mm rain against the normal of 1,835.9mm.

In meteorological parlance, the reduction in rain activity between 20 and 59 per cent is termed as deficient. To term a rainfall normal, mets have set a margin of plus 19 and minus 19 per cent of the normal rain figures. Scanty indicates a deficiency to the range between 60 to 99 per cent.

It was in 2008 that a situation similar to the current scenario had evolved in Kerala. That time, the rain deficiency for the two months starting June 1 was 31 per cent, said K. Santhosh, director, Meteorological Centre of the Indian Meteorological Department, Thiruvananthapuram.

Veteran weatherman P.V. Joseph said that the State was heading for a drought considering the reduced rain activity. There are no weather indicators to suggest that situation would improve in the State immediately, said Dr. Joseph.

Dry spells are awaiting the State. Kerala didn’t receive the expected rain during the first phase of monsoon that brings major share of annual showers to the State.

Incidentally, some areas of Himalayas and North East India are receiving good showers during this period, he said.

The weather report released by the Meteorological Centre, Thiruvananthapuram indicated that Southwest monsoon was weak over Kerala. Rain occurred at isolated places in Kerala. Rain occurred at Kannur, Palakkad, Karipur Airport, Hosdurg, Irikkur and Taliparamba. It has been predicted that rain/thundershower will occur at isolated places in Kerala and weathermen do not expect any significant changes in the weather conditions till August 5.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:33:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kochi-facing-droughtlike-situation/article3726314.ece

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