The depletion of groundwater table following uneven spread of rains during the last south-west monsoon season has impacted the cultivation of Rabi crops badly in several districts across Telangana with average fall in the water table below the surface recorded at 1.83 meters or over six feet this January compared to the same month last year.
Raising of Rabi crops has not been taken up even in one-third of the normal extent for the season in Medak and Ranga Reddy districts till February 5 although sowing/transplantation operations are in their last leg.
Cultivation of crops this season has also been poor in nine more districts, where the extent covered so far has been less than two-thirds of the normal.
The situation was far better last year, when the Rabi crops were raised in more than 100% of the normal extent for the season by now, February first week.
According to the Groundwater Department, the depletion of water table below the surface has been alarming in Sangareddy district at 7.49 meters (nearly 25 feet) in January this year compared to January last year.
Depletion of groundwater table was also recorded high, more than 3 meters or 10 feet, in January this year compared to January last year in Vikarabad (5.58 meters) Medak (5.5 m), Medchal (5.26 m), Gadwal (4.94 m), Ranga Reddy (4.85 m), Siddipet (4.84 m), Mahabubnagar (3.91 m), Nalgonda (3.86 m), Yadadri (3.85 m), Jangaon (3.37 m) and Kamareddy (3.2 m). Fall in extentSimilarly, the Rabi cultivation was only 31% each of the normal extent in Ranga Reddy and Medak districts followed by Sangareddy (41%), Sircilla (45%), Vikarabad (53%), Kamareddy (54%), Jangaon (55%) and Siddipet and Mahabubnagar (56% each).
“The impact of groundwater table depletion is seen high on Rabi cultivation in Vikarabad, Kamareddy, Sangareddy, Siddipet, Mahabubnagar, Jangaon and Sircilla districts where the sources of tank and canal irrigation are comparably less, again due to deficient rainfall,” a senior agriculture officer maintaining the statistics explained.
The rainfall statistics clearly indicate that although the State's average rainfall was only 8.09% lesser than the normal during the south-west monsoon period with 15 out of 31 districts recording a deviation ranging from 22.39% to 41.6%.
Sangareddy had the highest deficit of 41.63% rainfall during the monsoon (June-September period) followed by 33.18% in Yadadri and 32.9% in Medak.
Agriculture Department officials stated that cultivation of Rabi crops has been taken up in 72% of the normal extent for the season so far, in over 9.66 lakh hectares against 13.38 lakh ha, with only Bengalgram crossing the normal barrier.
The major pulses crop for the season has been sown in about 1.07 lakh ha against the normal of 95,000 ha. By now, Rabi crops were raised in 10.83 lakh ha in 2018 and 11.51 lakh ha in 2017.