Drought Update II

18th October 2011

Water Initiatives Odisha
Dearr co-sailors, On 27th August we sent out the First Drought Update for 2011 to you. In the meanwhile we got attacked by one of the most devastating floods of recent decades. Now that we are at the final stage of preparations for the first of its kind State Level Consultation on Flood Management scheduled for 23of of this month, we are shocked by more farmer deaths in the state due to drought conditions. In fact, this has been the condition of our state and each year we experience floods and droughts together. While flood keeps us engaged during a particular period of time drought has been a silent and persistent killer. From this year on, we are trying to intensify our efforts to see that the debate and action over disasters in the state don’t die down. We really need a better strategy to cope with disasters and manage those to reduce the devastations. About a decade ago, we at WIO had termed Odisha as “Disasters own Country”. By now disasters have intensified further and in the coming years, the way we are managing them and the way climatic conditions are going to change, the situation is going to be worse. It’s time we join hands and act fast!! This Update is just another effort towards that. Just in case you want to know it again, fifteen years ago, Water Initiatives Odisha(WIO) had started the habit of compiling Drought and Flood Updates for the state of Odisha and we used to share these among people, policy makers, media, academicians and other concerned. That time we did it through print papers and distributed photocopied updates. After continuing the effort for a few years, we could not keep up with the pace of the droughts, floods and disasters and stopped the effort a decade back. However, we kept on sending occasional updates from time to time via the internet and also through our print publications. Our friends and well-wishers have been asking us to start it again and we have too realised that the need for regular updates has become more vital than ever before with drought and disasters assuming new and gigantic proportions under new conditions of rapid industrialization and climate change. We are thus resuming the effort. The format would however be the same: a simple compilation of news and views on drought and related issues sourced from newspapers, research reports, field studies and all other sources we can have access to. We keep it simple also to reach out to maximum number of people possible. At the moment, it’s occasional and we may come up with these updates as and when we can, given our limited manpower and resources. However, with your inputs and support, we are sure; we shall be able to ensure regular flow of this update. We request you to send in your reports of activities, your views; and any other interesting and relevant article, books, photographs, and anything that you feel we should cover in this Update. It’s YOU who is the most important FUEL of this effort. Look forward to listen from you and your continued support. Thanks and regards, Ranjan Panda Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha

Another farmer commits suicide!
Lalit Neti, a 35 years old farmer from Bhimjor village of the Kolabira Block in Jharsuguda district allegedly committeed suicide by consuming pesticide on Monday, 17th October. It is reported that Lalit, a marginal farmer who owned two acres of land had availed a loan of 16000 rupees from Samasingh Co-operative Society for taking up his kharif farming operations. However, crop loss led him to take this extreme step.

After Floods, Dry Spell Worries Farmers
The farmers of southern and coastal districts are at nature’s mercy again. A prolonged dry spell after the September 23 floods has left the community worried over the standing crop prospects. The heat during the last three weeks is unusually high and paddy fields have gone dry. Long duration paddy crops are in the panicle stage and badly need water for heading and flowering. If there will be no rain during the next few days, there will be heavy production loss, said an agriculture expert. Early and medium varieties of paddy crops are in the dough stage and ready for harvest. However, constant water in the paddy field is required for long duration crops from panicle to dough stage. There is no problem for paddy crops in areas under assured irrigation. Reports from the field level said crop condition is getting worse in the southern district of Ganjam. Farmers of the coastal districts are equally concerned for their crops. The system developed in the east central Bay of Bengal had raised the hope of rain in the coastal belts of the State. As the system has started moving towards south-west bay, it has dashed the hopes any rain in the State. Evena s 16 districts were affected by drought and 21 districts were affected by the two spell of floods in September, the Agriculture Department was confident of a good kharif harvest. The prolonged dry spell had dimmed the hope. Meanwhile, the Government had asked the Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC) to operationalize atleast 1000 defunct LI points before December. The corporation needs to operationalize as many defunct LI points on war-footing measures to ensure that the standing crops are saved. Paddy crops on more than 3.5 lakh hectares were damaged by the recent floods.
Source: Indian Express, 18 October 2011

Crop loss grips farmers in Ganjam
Drought-like situation prevails in the district due to low rainfall Farmers in Ganjam are facing possible crop loss due to drought-like situation caused by low and erratic rainfall this year. This is in sharp contrast to other areas of the State where heavy rainfall has caused extensive loss due to floods. Most of the canals in the district are unable to provide sufficient water to farmers for cultivation. In a recent report the officials of the Agriculture Department have pointed out that all the 22 blocks of this district are affected by low rainfall. Non-provision of proper amount of water has started to irk peasants. In some areas such as Huma and Burupada, farmers have demonstrated at local offices of the Irrigation Department. Former deputy speaker of State Assembly Ram Chandra Panda says unless government comes out with some remedial measures for farmers, it may lead to law and order situation in some areas. He says it was high time to distribute whatever water is available through irrigation systems.

Paddy cultivation has been worst affected due to low rainfall. According to the Agriculture Department data, this year low rainfall in the beginning of kharif season affected paddy cultivation in four blocks of the district. But paddy cultivation in other blocks also got affected as proper rainfall did not occur in subsequent months. It is estimated that no cultivation could be taken up in around 13,000 hectares of agricultural land in the district. Minister's visit During his recent visit to the district, State Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patra also admitted the agricultural loss due to low rainfall and drought-like situation in the district. This year, the crop loss assessment will be made by taking panchyats as units rather than blocks so that more peasants who are likely to suffer crop loss could be benefited, he says, adding that efforts are on to save existing paddy crop in Ganjam through lift irrigation system. Ten thousand lift irrigation points will be repaired and renovated on a war-footing.
Source: The Hindu, 17 October 2011

Met Speaks Withdrawal of Monsoon
The withdrawal started from west Rajasthan on 23rd September with a delay of more than 3 weeks as the normal date of withdrawal from extreme western parts of Rajasthan is 1st September. Subsequently, it withdrew from most parts of northwest India and some parts of west Uttar Pradesh on 26th September and from most parts of Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Madhya Pradesh and some more parts of Gujarat state on 28th September. On 30th Sept. it further withdrew from some more parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. As on 4th October, The withdrawal line of monsoon continues to pass through Lat. 27.0°N / Long. 84.0°E, Balia, Umaria, Jabalpur, Indore, Baroda, Veraval, Lat. 21.0°N / Long. 65.0°E and Lat. 21.0°N / Long. 60.0°E. The cumulative season rainfall from 1st June to 30th September 2011 was excess in 7 meteorological subdivisions (21% of the total area of the country), normal in 26 meteorological subdivisions (71% of the total area of the country) and deficient in 3 meteorological subdivisions (8% the total area of the country). The sub-divisional cumulative season rainfall distribution is shown in Fig.4. Three subdivisions (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, and NMMT) from the eastern part of the country recorded deficient rainfall. The monthly rainfall over the country as a whole during the season is given below: June: 12% above LPA July: 15% below LPA. August: 10% above LPA September: 6% above LPA.
Source: IMD =================== Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now! R-3/A-4, J. M. Colony, Budharaja Sambalpur 768 004, Odisha, INDIA Mobile: +919437050103 Email: ranjanpanda@gmail.com, ranjanpanda@yahoo.com You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader Blog: http://www.climatecrusaders.blogspot.com/ Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.