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Q. IMD forecast of normal monsoon and water management: In the backdrop of IMD’s prediction of normal monsoon, comment on issue of water management.
Apr 20, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted that this year India is likely to get normal monsoon rains. According to IMD, rains are likely to be 96% of the 50-year average of 89cm for the monsoon season of June to September and they are expected to fan out favourably and which will help agriculture. The IMD forecast has brought the promise of a year of growth and good health for India’s economy and ecology.

Analysis-

  • As far the previous experience of IMD shows that forecasting the all-India summer monsoon rainfall is fraught with uncertainties and has often gone off the mark. In this backdrop IMD forecast has been seen with at most cautiously.
  • A clearer picture would be available in the month of June, when the El Nino phenomenon, which disrupts global wind flows following, warming of the equatorial Pacific, has gathered pace. 
  • But the IMD has opined that the Indian Ocean Dipole, also called the Indian Nino, could well counter El Nino and have benign effects here, which will reflect in normal monsoon 
  • If IMD’s forecasts become correct, India will have a second consecutive year of normal rainfall, after two years of drought. The prospect that 2017 will be a good year boosts the prospects of enhanced agricultural output, healthy reservoir levels, more hydropower and reduced conflicts over water.
  • The normal monsoon will also test the efficacy of the expensive water management initiatives launched during 2014 and 2015 by the Central government and the state governments to harness rainfall and build resilience for future drought cycles.
  • In this context it is vital that we are better prepared for utilisation of normal precipitation and consequent stress in the water economy. Given our highly seasonal pattern of rainfall, with 50% precipitation occurring in 15 days, and over 90% of river flows taking place in just four months, we need to boost water storage and harvesting, and recharge groundwater.

Way ahead-

  • The governments should shore up community-level water storage, such as in tanks, check dams and other local rainwater harvesting and water recharge systems through effective schemes.
  • For effective utilisation of water in agriculture, power generation and in industry, there is need of holistic policy design including new seed varieties for water-intensive crops like paddy, and incentives not to grow waterguzzling crops like sugarcane in areas of poor rainfall. 
  • Similarly, we also need to step-up drip-irrigation, especially in arid areas, and allocate more resources for irrigation generally, so as to better cope with the vagaries of the monsoon. Irrigation maintenance needs policy focus.

Conclusion-

IMD’s forecast of normal monsoon this year is good sign for the Indian economy. As we witnessed draughts in 2014 and 2015, there urgent need of national policy for more sustainable water usage and proactively change demand patterns. India must adopt low-cost methods for effective utilisation and reutilisation of available water. In this backdrop, both central and state governments should formulate policy for sustainable usage of water.


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