Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy writes: Droughts, floods, heat & cold waves will keep threatening India. We can’t expect the Paris agreement to solve the crisis associated with these extreme weather events. The way to minimize their impact is through adaptive measures by understanding the mechanism in which they occur, by quantifying the agro-climate of a region.
“Droughts & floods and heat & cold waves”
Actions to be taken as a precautionary measure: Letter to the Prime Minister of India
Respected Prime Minister,
In warm tropical countries like India, droughts & floods, heat & cold waves are common. They were there in the past and will be there in future; but the only way to minimize their impact is through adaptive measures by understanding the mechanism in which they occur. Our fore-fathers did this but with the political culture after independence this was neglected with the increased levels of urbanization. In this scenario, if government is really interested peoples’ wellbeing, this can be achieved only through quantifying agro-climate of a location/region. I carried out such analysis for few countries [see the first book under bibliography given below]. There must be a permanent body to look in to the implementation process on regular basis based on such analysis. Unfortunately, Indian Institutes, both private & public sector, are adopting stereo type IPCC hypothetical work, that lead nowhere. This must be changed and work should move based on the ground realities but not based on half-baked models.
Nations including India signed the Paris agreement but this is not going to solve the crisis associated with the extreme weather events, mentioned above, as this agreement will allow re-distribution of wealth from rich to poor with a political agenda. This is around $100 billion dollars per year for five years.
Climate change is not global warming. So far the global average temperature associated with the so-called global warming is around 0.1oC only. To reach the limit 1.5 or 2.0oC will take few centuries. Unfortunately, in India at central and state level the advisors on climate change are of poor quality, they don’t know the full facts at least on what IPCC said in its AR5 [2013/2014] report leaving aside their basic research work on this; and thus everybody, man on the street to editor of daily news papers/TV Channels, is an expert to advice the states and central governments. Also, they even have no time to look at Climate Normal books published by India Meteorological Departments or the production figures by agriculture departments or water problems by irrigation departments. They make statements from air and feed both print & electronic media with such half-baked reports. This is not confined to India but it is also spread all over the globe – they were trained by PR groups of pseudo Global Warming and World Bank and other international groups. Let me present in brief the scenario of temperature and precipitation.
For example, the global average temperature is sum and total of raise, fall and no change associated with local existing conditions over different parts of the globe. However, they don’t cover the climate system as such. Some facts on global average are as follows:
* The first and the foremost is the temperature data. Over the land area the met network increased non-linearly from 1880 onwards increasing to a level of more than 1000 times to that of 1880 and also majority of them are confined to urban areas and not distributed uniformly over climate system. Thus, the average represents a biased estimate only;
* Up to around 1990 there was no system of systematic measurements of temperatures over the oceans/water bodies that occupy around 70% of the globe except from ships passing through that area – Northern Hemisphere is occupied by more land area while Southern Hemisphere is occupied by more ocean area;
* More than 50% [though IPCC claims science is settled, yet it uses qualitative statements] of the global average temperature rise since 1950 [starting year of global warming] is associated with greenhouse effect and less than 50% is associated with non-greenhouse effect associated with human component of ecological changes [changes in land & water use & cover]. Again the greenhouse effect part consists of anthropogenic greenhouse gases component [human component] and non-human component associated with volcanic activity and other dust related components [human & non-human components].
* The global temperature data series presented a 60-year systematic variation component that varied between -0.3 and + 0.3oC – at present it is positive component; and a trend component reaching 1.1 oC by 2100 from 1880. It is 0.60 oC per Century. This was associated with lowering the past data series and raising the current data series by the institutions that are preparing the global temperature anomaly trend [they differ one from another]. This manipulation of data showed the raise more by 2 to 3 times. That means instead of 0.2-0.3oC per Century, the trend is showing 0.6oC per Century. This can be seen clearly in US temperature data series.
* The satellite measurements started in 1972 and data released from 1979 onwards. This trend agreed with the 0.2-0.3oC per Century; but this data was removed from the internet and later corrected trend was posted.
Urban Heat-island effect: Urban areas with unplanned rapid growth — associated with the destruction of green cover and water bodies, increasing congestion with unplanned growth, unscientific building construction with black top roads, etc are creating not only raise in ground level temperature but also raise in temperature up to a certain height based on the height of the pollution layer/temperature inversion layer in certain patters of the city wherein the wind movement is constrained with tall buildings. They are far higher than the neighbouring rural areas temperatures by few degrees. This pattern increases the power consumption and increase the heat wave condition in those parts and as well neighbouring areas through advection. To minimize this effect, governments must follow planned development with increased green cover that shadow the black topped roads and needs protection of water bodies. These will help in the dispersion of pollution and thus its role on urban-heat-island effect.
With reference to the heat and the cold waves, I presented a method of forecasting as back as 1978, which was published by IMD Journal.
The major part of climate change relates to natural in built variations in precipitation. This was also highlighted by the IPCC in its AR5 with our efforts. This is beyond human control. So, we have to adapt to them. The precipitation data series follow a systematic variations or fluctuations or cyclic variations. Adaptation to these cyclic variations in agriculture, I studied for few developing countries [Mozambique, Ethiopia, West African countries, Brazil, Botswana & South Africa] and India & Australia. Later these were included in my book refereed below under bibliography.
National level: All India Southwest Monsoon [June to September with 78% of annual] precipitation data series presented a 60-year cycle – northwest Indian rivers show this in frequency of occurrence of floods. Two 60-year cycles were completed by 1986 and the third cycle started in 1987 [it coincides with the Telugu calendar of 60 years — Prabhava]. The sub-divisional and national precipitation data series month-wise, season-wise & annual were published by IITM/Pune for the period 1871 to 1994. [The average for all India is 852 mm but IMD using 890 mm for long range rainfall forecasts; so period and number of stations distribution contribute for the differences]. The later data created by IITM from 1995 is not matching with the previous data series. This needs re-looking at it as they advised the government saying rainfall is decreasing. According to 60-year cycle, above the average 30 year period ends by 2016 and from 2017 onwards below the average 30-year period commences, wherein on more years drought conditions will prevail and in less years flood conditions prevail and thus needs better planning for water resources utilization for all sectors.
Undivided Andhra Pradesh: In the case of undivided Andhra Pradesh precipitation data series, the southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon showed 56 year cycle but they are in opposite direction. However, the northeast monsoon precipitation presents high year to year variation compared to southwest monsoon precipitation as it is associated with cyclonic activity. The frequency of occurrence of cyclones in Bay of Bengal also presented 56 year cycle of northeast monsoon. These areas also influenced by pre-monsoon cyclonic activity related precipitation. Thus, the annual data series is more appropriate in the case of undivided Andhra Pradesh. The annual precipitation data series presented 132 year cycle. Prior to 1935, the precipitation data series showed below the average part of 66-year and presented drought conditions in 24 years and flood conditions in 12 years. From 1935 to 2000, the precipitation data series showed above the average part of 66-year and presented drought conditions in 12 years and flood conditions in 24 years. Since 2001, the 66 year pattern prior to 1935 has commenced and as a result, since 2001 on majority of the years’ drought conditions prevailed. This needs more planning for better utilization of water resources.
Sir, to assess the drought condition on agriculture production at 10-day interval during the crop growing season a method was developed and this was implemented in Mozambique and Ethiopia. The same could be used to assess the drought progression with the time and give advice to mid-season corrections. This will finally help identifying the drought affected areas at national level without political interference.
Sir, under the 7th Five-year Plan government of India put forth the watershed programme in areas with a minimum annual rainfall of 750 mm zone. In the 8th Five-year Plan the 750 mm limit was removed and thus, most of the money went in to the pockets of political leaders and bureaucrats. The success of these projects primarily relate to sustainable rainfall. However in arid and semi-arid zones, they are highly variable and thus the success rate is less than 25%. These projects are still in operation wasting public money. Also, Telugu states went a step further and talking on water pits instead of protecting water bodies [rivers, ponds, lakes, reservoirs], as the governments wanted to transfer them to real estate ventures. The pits help party cadre to amass wealth.
Some NGOs that are associated with the World Bank argue that India needs watershed programmes and say no to dams. Some even argue that dams are causing earthquakes. Yes, dams cause earthquakes if we build dams on fault zones in the earth [like Lathur earthquake] and not other places. Gujarat irrigation minister [Sir, during the time when you are the CM of the state] countered the NGOs argument on watersheds success openly on TV channel discussion.
A. Urban Areas:
1. Rain water pits are not the solution as is given hype now by media & politicians. I submitted a report to Water Conservation Committee of Hyderabad district on 7th June 2001;
2. Stop (a) entering sewage in to rainwater drains. Then this water could be put in to tanks/lakes and or river[s], (b) wastage of water through leakages & pilferages,and (c) digging of bore-wells & construction activities in summer [15th March to 15th June];
3. Government is providing drinking water to the residents. 70-75% of this goes as sewage. By treating this water through sewage treatment plants – not to mix industrial wastewater with the sewage – and the same could be stored in the tanks/lakes over different parts of the city [if not existing, dig one where they are not available] after removing the polluted silt in the tank/lake bed. This will help recharging of groundwater and provide water for green cover development and building/construction activities, and thus reduce the polluted water joining groundwater and rivers;
4. In the case of Ganga River, to facilitate pilgrims, build separate channels and release water in to it from the river for pilgrims to have a dip and at night, release this in to Sewage Treatment Plant and after treatment release the water in to river. Every day repeat this. Also don’t allow untreated sewage from the urban and rural areas along the river banks in to the river;
5. New layouts must develop a pond. Collect rain water in this pond from the layout. Also, treated sewage from the dwellings in that layout also must be put in to the pond. This will allow the groundwater recharging and help in building green cover;
6. Industrial effluents must be treated and used in the certain operations in the industries and as well in industrial zone for green belt development and thus help in ground water recharging;
7. “SWACCH” Bharat, cities, etc programme is another “watershed” programme, a lakhs of crores wasteful expenditure. Instead create an atmosphere to stop the rural to urban peoples’ migration, if not urban beggars population will increase;
B. Rural Areas
1. Water available is highly variable with year to year and the water is received over a period of few months only. Most of the rainfalls in catchment area. We need to conserve forest areas in this zone and thus help maintenances of aquifers. Deforestation will result severe water reduction coming from the catchment areas as surface flows and as well groundwater flows;
2. Small ponds or pits or check dams are not the solution in seasonally dry tropics like India [arid and semi-arid zones] unless they are connected to channels from dam waters;
3. Build dams wherever possible. While building the dams, the governments must take in to account the water availability at different probability levels and as well tribunals water allocations [both allocated and surplus];
4. The government must develop a better water utilization system in good and poor rainfall years. In good monsoon years, the government must preserve the water over and above the water allocated to use. This will provide succor during the low rainfall years. At present we are not following this;
5. The central government must give top priority to inter-linking of river projects. Through lift irrigation taking water from river to another is not inter-linking of rivers. Government should not encourage such politicians;
6. Unfortunately political mind set even the tribunals are giving fraudulent awards. For example, if the government implements the Brijesh Kumar tribunal award on Krishna River water sharing, the downstream undivided Andhra Pradesh will turn in to a desert in no time and thus turn in to a war zone. For this already governments are lying foundation stones for such eventuality by building projects in excess of allocated water by several times by spending lakhs of crores;
7. Encourage micro-irrigation practices with the groundwater use systems.
Both state and central government agriculture institutions are not only wasting their time but also wasting public money on IPCC model temperature scenarios related works, which have no utility whatsoever. The international organizations including World Bank are also dumping such good for nothing reports on developing countries to sideline the real issues that developing countries are facing. The real issues for developing countries like India are “the agriculture system and water utilization”. Both central and state governments are not giving importance to such issues. This scenario is creating drought and crop losses and thus creating farmers suicides and severe water problems.
Central government should consider stopping funds for those states wherein they mismanage both groundwater and surface water and construct illegal irrigation projects – which means building projects in excess of water allocations to a given state by tribunals in terms of allocated waters and surplus water. This practice is rampant and creating war like scenarios. Otherwise India becomes another middle-east. This must be strictly implemented so that people will not suffer on a long run and at the same time public money is not wasted. Also, central ministers must stop praising such projects, without understanding the ins and outs, based on the briefings. It has become a fashion to praise the illegal activities.
Government must encourage cooperative farming village as unit. Also, encourage organic farming with animal husbandry as the component. Government must encourage farmers’ innovative technologies with appropriate incentives that drastically bring down the chemical fertilizer subsidy components. Discourage chemical inputs & genetically modified seeds that are high risk systems under highly variable rainfall and water resources. Also, make it mandatory to follow crop rotation under high chemical input agriculture system. In areas with poor water resources and with groundwater, discourage growing water intensive crops such as sugarcane, paddy, cotton, etc and encourage minor millets and pulses and encourage the sale under Public Distribution System by procuring them.
Some of these issues I discussed in my books & journal paper listed below under bibliography.
1. Agroclimatic/Agrometeorological Techniques: As applicable to Dry-land Agriculture in Developing Countries, 1993, 205p, www.scribd.com/Google
Books, Book review appeared in an International Journal – Agric. For. Meteorol., 67:325-327; S.J.Reddy
2. Dry-land Agriculture in India: An Agroclimatological and Agrometeorological Perspective, 2002, 429p, BSPublications, Hyderabad, S.J.Reddy
3. A method of forecasting the weather associated with western disturbances, 1978, Indian J. Met. Hydrol. Geophysics, 29:515-520, S.J.Reddy & GS.P.Rao.
4. Irrigation and Irrigation Projects in India: Tribunals, Disputes and Water Wars Perspective, 2016, 132p, BSPublications, Hyderabad, S.J.Reddy
5. Climate Change & Its Impacts: Ground Realities, 2016 [under Printing], S.J.Reddy
6. “Green” Green Revolution: Agriculture perspective of climate change, 2016 [under publication], S.J.Reddy
With kind regards
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN & Expert – FAO/UN
Fellow, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana Akademy of Sciences
Convenor, Forum for a Sustainable Environment
Hyderabad, Telangana, India