Droughts in India has resulted in tens of millions of deaths over the course of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on the Monsoons in India: a favorable southwest summer monsoon is critical in securing water for irrigating Indian crops.
Some of the major drought-prone regions are southern and eastern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Bengal, Bihar and Rajasthan.
But why has this been repeatedly happening since the last 200 years? 200 years is a long enough period given to overcome the situation and prevent the people's suffering by providing adequate means and inter regional water storage and transfer.
And knowing the weather, it is almost natural, that either of the above mentioned regions is bound to get below normal deficient rainfall in any year. Do we literally have to wait for a surplus rainfall in each and every region of the country. If yes, than thats poor management and governance of water resources.
We should be capable with providing the shortfall by the excess available in some other region. Nature's bounty is always merciful on us, but are we ever ready?
Do we know how to store and preserve water, rather than just let it drain in the two seas on either side. Most of the SWM rains drain off in the seas.
Is India really water starved ? This article in Vagaries is most apt and suited for the topic under discussion....and the article ended with ..otherwise .....Otherwise we see the same old story in parts of the country today.
Then what is a drought Year ?
Out of the total 36 meteorological subdivisions, 23 subdivisions constituting 67.3% of the total area of the country received excess/normal season rainfall and the remaining 13 subdivisions (32.7% of the total area of the country) received deficient season rainfall.
To really analyse the "drought" situation this year, let us take into consideration of the three neighbouring states... Gujarat, Maharshtra and Karnataka, which, the officials tell us are the worst effected..
Karnataka: End Season, Coastal Karnataka was 0%, N.I.Karnataka was -36% and S.I.Karnataka was -23%.
Average deficiency for the state: -19.6%.
Maharashtra: End Season: Konkan -3%, Madhya Maharashtra -25%, Marathwada -33% and Vidharbha +8%.
Average State deficiency: -17.6%
Gujarat: Saurashtra and Kutch:-34%, Gujarat Region: -28%.
Average State deficiency: -31%.
Tamil Nadu State Deficiency: -23%. And Kerala -24%.
It can be noticed, from the above figures and map, that the drought regions are all "linked " to each other North/South. Providing and implementing the waters from the coastal regions to the interioirs would have been a boon and would have mitigated the losses.
The severest amongst them is Gujarat. However, Gujarat has somewhat marginally lessened the woes by diverting the river waters to water starved Saurashtra and Kutch. Remember, Saurashtra by itself is deficient by -43% !
Maharashtra reservoirs are showing levels as follows as per latest levels available..
Konkan Reservoirs 55%full (last year at this date 49%), Marathwada 10% (24%), Nagpur 37% (35%), Pune 35% (39%).
Overall Maharastra Reservoirs: 32% (36% in 2012 and 50% in 2011).
Situation is manageable and could be kept under control.
Now, in the modern day and era, we have to consider the average of all the regions. The overall Monsoon performance is taken considering India as a whole..Excess and deficient regions. Any developing and established nation like ours would have considered the excess rains that its coastal/mountainous belt gets, to divert the huge amounts of water to its interiors.
The coastal regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka get between 2000-6000 mms, and a few places even boast of over 7500-8000 mms as normal..now thats a fantastic amount of rain by any standards.
Maharashtra has Mahableshwar with five rivers running and originating from there, and from Nasik district the state has the Godavri river, running through the water starved regions of Marathwada !
The State has ample scope to put things in perspective, by irrigating the "normally" low rainfall regions. The state would never complain of a water scarcity !!