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2016 drought

A forest drought no one is talking about

Down to Earth reports: Severe dry spells in Indian forests have hit the livelihood of more than 100 million people. But India simply does not acknowledge this drought. There’s no official nomenclature for forest droughts, nor any official plan to deal with them. So, while a farmer gets compensation for failed crops, forest-dwellers receive nothing.

P. Sainath: The sacred waters of a tanker

From Ruralindiaonline.org: Rampant deforestation, extensive damming of the rivers, huge diversions of water for industrial projects and even elite resorts can be seen across the state. All these underlie Maharashtra’s terrible water crisis. They won’t get washed away by the monsoon, even if the media coverage of it dries up with onset of the rains.

Digital story of drought and death

Osama Manzar writes: As part of a digital literacy project in Maharashtra, rural students identified the following major consequences of drought— lack of water for basic needs, irregular supply of drinking water by government authorities, supply of unhygienic water, shortage of fodder for cattle, unemployment, health issues and lack of awareness about water conservation schemes.

Video: P. Sainath at the Delhi assembly: Water and farm crisis are the defining problems of our time

Catch News reports: In a new initiative by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, proceedings for the day at the Delhi Assembly were kickstarted by a lecture series. The first lecture was delivered by veteran journalist P. Sainath, who spoke on ‘Water and Farm Crisis in India’, which he said were the defining crises of our times.

A calamity bigger than drought

Archana Mishra writes: Authorities failed to use MGNREGA and NFSA provisions meant for relief in difficult times. Even delayed wage payments forced downtrodden farmers to migrate towards cities. The national average of MGNREGA wages delayed beyond the statutory limit of 15 days is 62 percent of all wage payments for 2015-16, an RTI query revealed.

Consume more, pollute more, pay less, ask for more dams: The average Indian city’s water policy

A resident of Pune, Maharashtra’s second-most developed city, uses five times as much water as her counterpart in Latur, the district most ravaged by drought in south-central Marathwada region. That’s the extent of water inequality in Maharashtra, according to a new analysis, characterised by disproportionate availability and consumption of water across regions, crops and consumers.

Thermal power plants: Giant water-guzzlers in drought-ridden India

Shripad Dharmadhikary reports: As the summer has progressed, stories of the impacts of drought and water scarcity have been coming up, mostly highlighting the conditions of farmers, cattle and problems of domestic water supplies in villages, towns and cities. However, what’s not reported is the situation with industries, particularly the coal based thermal power plants.

Warming world: Can India cope with drought?

While the economy has achieved resilience from drought impact, rural communities across the country continue to face the wrath of monsoon failure, leading to distressed selling of lands, movable assets, and migration. This is aggravating poverty of the people affecting their nutritional standards rendering them more vulnerable to disease and ill-health and loss of productivity.

The hidden connection between air pollution and heat spikes: India’s lethal double bind

India has an extreme air pollution problem, which kills up to 400,000 people every year. This pollution, made up of fine particles called aerosols, also has the effect of cooling the local climate by reflecting or absorbing sunlight before it reaches the ground. It is feasible that India’s pollution problem has been “hiding” extreme heat spikes.

Yogendra Yadav: Modi’s inaction on drought speaks louder than his words

The PM patted his own back for meeting the CMs of drought affected states. What he did not mention that the CMs were given much less than what they needed and asked for from the National Disaster Response Fund, that too after considerable delays. The MNREGA too is starved of funds by the central government.

Series: Combating drought – 3: Traditional methods to the rescue

India is reeling under a back-to-back drought, with 10 states declared affected and nearly 2,00,000 villages affected,  and shredding the social fabric in affected areas. In this concluding part of our series on combating drought, we present examples where traditional methods for water harvesting have been successfully put to use by communities to drought-proof themselves.

Series: Combating drought – 2: Success stories

As India reels under a back-to-back drought, with 10 states declared affected and nearly 2,00,000 villages affected, it’s time to ask whether the present situation could’ve been avoided. And yet, here are examples from across India where, armed with little more than determination and imagination, ordinary people have turned things around to create little oases.

Series: Combating drought – 1: What the experts say

As India reels under a back-to-back drought, with 10 states declared affected and nearly 2,00,000 villages affected, it’s time to ask whether the present situation could’ve been avoided. As many expert voices presented here point out, it’s not the weather alone that creates a drought, but bad planning and an often corrupt and apathetic administration.

India facing its worst water crisis ever: Himanshu Thakkar

Environmental activist and water expert Himanshu Thakkar tells Business Standard that India needs a comprehensive water use policy immediately. Making it clear that India is facing its worst drought ever, he says: “I do not think it is statement of pessimism but possibly reflects a reality. What we are seeing this year is unprecedented in many respects.

P. Sainath: “You are in the midst of a mega water crisis”

Speaking at a National Consultation on Drought, journalist P. Sainath explains how India’s ‘thirst economy’ makes profits.  “If we think we are facing is only a drought, we’re in serious trouble. You’re in the midst of a mega water crisis,” he says, debunking the idea that a good monsoon will solve India’s crippling water crisis.

Amita Baviskar: The drought is no longer a natural disaster

 In the past, water scarcity was a constraint that inspired communities to conserve water, devising locally appropriate technologies to share resources. Rajasthan’s baolis and Tamil Nadu’s eris are just two of the many traditional water harvesting systems that survive to this day. However, they have been sidelined by spectacular state projects such as large dams.

Water-rich Agumbe has run dry: and it’s not the only place

With the drought scorching the world and the rest of India refusing to let up, Agumbe in Shimoga district of Karnataka, known as the ‘Cherrapunji of the the South’ for the abundant rainfall it receives, is experiencing water scarcity this year. In nearby Kerala, perennial rivers like the Pamba and Kabini have gone dry, affecting thousands.

Yogendra Yadav: The season of scorching ironies

From The Hindu: A petition on a cricket tournament, rather than the plight of the people and its real culprits, has triggered media attention to the drought. Finally, it is the apex court of the country, and not its Parliament, that has found time to pay attention to serious issues of drought relief and mitigation.

Yogendra Yadav: ‘54 crore farmers in the grip of drought’

Over 54 crore people across 13 States are in the grip of drought, and it is a multi-dimensional crisis. Highlighting this at a national consultation in Delhi, Yogendra Yadav said that owing to the drought, people were battling for drinking water and food, domestic cattle were dying a nomadic death and farms had turned fallow.

Special: The shocking predicament of the Marathwada farmer, up close

Marathwada region has seen a rise in farmer suicides due to a combination of shrinking agricultural income and an inability to repay loans. Reported suicides in the eight districts comprising Marathwada jumped  by 570 per cent between 2012 and 2015. In this probing multi-part series, Tushar Dhara takes a closer look at the never-ending crisis of Marathwada’s farmers.

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