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Insufficient Pre-Monsoon Rains in 20 States Could Wreak Havoc on Agriculture

From March 1 to April 25, India Meteorological Data reveals that twenty states had largely insufficient pre-monsoon rain.

Chintu Das
Pre-Monsoon Rains
Pre-Monsoon Rains

From March 1 to April 25, India Meteorological Data reveals that twenty states had received insufficient pre-monsoon rain. The scarcity of rain in these two months prolongs heat wave conditions, leaves fruits and vegetables vulnerable to heat stress, and has the potential to damage sugar cane and cotton irrigation, as well as pre-kharif sowing operations.

Experts say that many river basins have received no rain at all this season, while many others have had insufficient to entirely deficient rains, putting further strain on dam water consumption. In India, pre-monsoon rain accounts for roughly 11% of the country's yearly rainfall.

"If a river basin receives little or no rainfall, reservoirs in such basins would be under increased strain to provide water for diverse population demands," a senior IMD official told TOI. It will eventually have an impact on dam water levels." "Good pre-monsoon rains might result in lower demand for dam water for agricultural irrigation, as was witnessed in the pre-monsoon season of 2021," stated HV Gunale, chief engineer of the water resources department, Pune division.

Dam levels, on the other hand, are not heavily influenced by pre-monsoon precipitation. The water levels in Pune's reservoirs are now adequate." Good pre-monsoon rain, according to L S Rathore, former director-general of IMD, tends to minimise overall stress on drinking water sources. "While these rains may not greatly replenish dam levels, timely showers during this season can assist horticulture, gardens, and orchards meet their water needs," he noted.

The majority of Maharashtra's river basins have had little to no rainfall, or have had significant rainfall deficits. Pre-monsoon showers help long-term crops like sugar cane and cotton, according to Rathore. He went on to say that they can help alleviate heat stress in vegetables, fruit crops, and forest plantations. Pre-monsoon rains, he claims, help to alleviate hot conditions. "There have been few pre-monsoon periods this time, which may explain why there has been no relief from the high day temperatures," Rathore added.

"Good pre-monsoon rainfall, especially in May, might be a benefit for pre-kharif operations," said Kripan Ghosh, head of agriculture meteorology division, IMD, Pune. These rains, on the other hand, can help crops like mango and vegetables avoid heat stress. If there is insufficient irrigation in regions of northern Maharashtra, heatwave conditions might have an impact on crops. Pre-monsoon rains can be useful in certain situations."

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