Almost half of the country reels under drought: Study

News this week
India will see more droughts in the future. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons) India will see more droughts in the future. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Study reveals that nearly 42 percent of India’s land area is facing drought

According to the Drought Early Warning System (DEWS), a real-time drought monitoring platform, nearly 42 percent of India’s land area is facing drought, with six percent exceptionally dry. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, parts of the Northeast, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are the worst-hit states. Almost 40 percent of the country's population has been affected by the drought crisis. Failed monsoon rains have been attributed as the primary reason for the drought condition that is four times the spatial extent of drought last year. The study highlights that the drought could worsen farm distress, exacerbate groundwater extraction, increase migration, and further inflame water conflicts. 

Study reveals decline in usable groundwater in east India, despite increasing rainfall

As per a recent study, despite an increase in rainfall, the usable groundwater is declining at a rapid rate in northeast India, with Assam losing the maximum amount of usable groundwater stock. The study which was conducted for the period between 2003 to 2015, combined the borehole data from the Central Groundwater Board, rainfall data and satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). Also, the study has shown that the states which have the highest groundwater depletion rates during the study period are subjected to water-intensive cropping practices. However, the study highlights that states like Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand show the highest potential for groundwater restoration efforts. 

Country's information on plastic waste generation is incomplete: CPCB

According to the latest report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), out of the 35 regional pollution boards in the country, only 14 have filed the information on plastic waste generation in 2017-18. Moreover, nearly 10 states have not furnished any details of plastic waste in the last two years. Even the states which have offending cities have not provided any information on plastic waste generation to the CPCB in 2018. The incompleteness of data implies that the plastic waste generation in the country is much higher than reported.

Cauvery's delta shrunk by 20 percent: Study

A study focused on change in land use patterns of Cauvery delta region in the last four decades has brought to notice that the delta has shrunk by 20 percent because of anthropogenic factors including diversion of land for non-agricultural purposes. The region has also witnessed a 13-fold increase in wastelands since 1971 and a large-scale reduction in crop cover in recent years due to lack of proper irrigation. Moreover, cultivation of water-intensive crops and pollution from industries are aggravating the region's agriculture crisis. To add to the crisis, sediment deposit to the delta region has decreased due to upstream dams trapping the silt.

Excessive sand mining takes a toll on Dhasan river in Bundelkhand

According to local villagers, excessive mining is taking place in Dhasan river in Nowgaon tehsil in Bundelkhand. This is the second river after Ken in drought-prone Bundelkhand where illegal sand mining is posing a threat. The villagers have alleged that heavy machines are playing havoc with Dhasan river ghats and disrupting its flow. The local administration has however turned a blind eye to the issue and no action has been taken against the mining mafia that mines even those areas in the river which have not been leased out and thus damage the ghats and disrupt the river flow. 

This is a roundup of important news published between March 27 - April 3, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.


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