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Climate Change Alarms! Himachal Faces 36% Rain Deficit, Prepares For Drought-Like Conditions

Back in 2022, Himachal experienced one of the highest deficit rainfalls which led to record crop losses and drinking water shortage. In an attempt to address it effectively in 2023, the government has pressed the alarm over an impending water crisis

The impact of climate change has become growingly visible across nations. Prolonged dry spells in regions such as Himachal Pradesh is one such indicator pointing toward a dramatic shift in the climate conditions. Earlier in 2022, Himachal Pradesh observed about 89 per cent deficit in rainfall in April, the highest recorded in 15 years. The lack of sufficient rainfall across the region caused major losses in the crops sown in winter and a drinking water shortage. Water resources in the village and small towns began drying up to threateningly low levels and called for collective action. This year, too, Himachal started off by reporting a 36 perc ent rain deficit and has nudged the officials to rethink the water supply with a looming water scarcity ahead.

Crop Losses And Drinking Water Shortage

With the hill state witnessing a deficit rainfall yet once again this winter season, the government has pressed the alarm over an impending water crisis. In a review meeting held on February 27, the general consensus was that the situation could become challenging by the months of April and May if the dry spell continues. To tackle this, concerned departments have been told to devise a strategy to mitigate a possible drought-like situation.

From January 1 to February 27, the state witnessed an overall rain deficiency of 36 per cent. Solan and Mandi were among the most affected districts, with 67 and 60 per cent rain deficits. The former experienced the maximum crop loss due to dry weather, by up to ₹36 crores. According to official numbers from the Agriculture Department, the state faced an overall crop loss of ₹75 crores until January 10. Taking all these numbers into regard, the meeting directed the Deputy Commissioners of the state to preserve and rejuvenate the traditional water bodies like baolis and ponds.

Completion Of Water Schemes

According to a report by the Tribune, the state water schemes have not been affected much. An official said that “Of over 10,000 water schemes, only 10-12 are facing a crisis. This could change if the rain continues to elude the state.” The Jal Shakti Department has also been directed to complete work on 12 water schemes, which are nearing completion, within a month’s time. Combining efforts of multiple departments, the Chief Secretary also issued directions to the forest officials to keep their men and machinery ready to handle the possible forest fires in the summer season. Each department would be seen working closely to take timely action to handle adversities that may arise due to the dry spell.

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