NEW DELHI: Seven states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland — have shown “significant decreasing trends” in annual rainfall in the last 30 years and many parts of the country witnessed increase in number of “dry days” during the monsoon season which adversely affected groundwater recharges in these regions.
These are some of the key findings of a report, ‘Observed Rainfall Variability and Changes’, which was shared by the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) with a parliamentary panel in response to the latter’s queries on changing rainfall patterns in the context of its impact on agriculture.
The ministry compiled the report by analysing rainfall pattern over 28 states and the Union Territory of J&K based on data of the last 30 years (1989-2018).
The report said the situation for agriculture or water recharge in certain states in the Ganga river basin (UP, Bihar and West Bengal), Delhi and some southern states was “alarming”, as the number of dry days (daily rainfall of 2.5 mm or less) during the south-west monsoon was “significantly increasing”.
Asked about the reason behind change in rainfall pattern in those states, MoES secretary Madhavan Rajeevan said, “It could be attributed to climate change. Global warming is happening and it has impacted the climate in India as well. As a result, many parts of the country have seen decreasing trends while others witnessed increasing trends.”
He told TOI on Sunday that the study was conducted as desired by the parliamentary committee when many members during its last meeting in September 2019 raised concerns about changing rainfall pattern in their constituencies/states.
“Such study may help farmers plan their agricultural activities and conserve/utilise available water resources,” Rajeevan said.
The parliamentary standing committee on science & technology and environment, headed by Congress’s Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, submitted its report to Parliament on Friday.
“Five states, viz Bihar, Meghalaya, Nagaland, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, have shown statistically significant decreasing trends in south-west monsoon rainfall. These five states, along with two more states — Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh — have also shown statistically significant decreasing trends in annual rainfall,” the report said, referring to details shared by the MoES secretary with the committee.
“However, in district rainfall, significant changes have been noticed for most of the states,” it said.
The report said the frequency of rainfall of lower intensity (less than 7 cm), favourable for soil and ground water recharge, was decreasing in these regions. Overall, there was significant changes in the frequency of dry days, rainy days (daily rainfall of 2.5 mm or more but less than 7 cm) and heavy rainfall events (rainfall greater than equal to 7 cm) in different parts of the country.
As part of its recommendations, the committee urged the MoES to explore “monetisation of data and information” generated through a well-thought out policy, which does not compromise the public interest nature of its original mandate.
“Although the ministry is carrying out a public service, if the data is utilised by private users, especially large entities like private insurance companies, such private users must pay commensurately for the data and information provided by the ministry,” the panel said.
It said such a policy would help the ministry generate additional resources for augmenting important programmes and also help it, to some extent, to tide over the financial crunch that it faces every year in financing its projects/schemes.
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