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‘Wet’ Kerala reeling under worst drought in a century


Live Mint reports: Kerala is going through its worst drought in a century, damaging 30,353 hectares of agricultural land and resulting in a loss of Rs225 crore. Kerala revenue minister E. Chandrasekharan, during the budget session of the assembly on Wednesday, said only 44% of water remains in the state’s reservoirs as on 17 January.

Nidheesh M.K., Live Mint

Kerala is going through its worst drought in a century, damaging 30,353 hectares of agricultural land and resulting in a loss of Rs225 crore, according to state government estimates.

Kerala revenue minister E. Chandrasekharan, during the budget session of the assembly on Wednesday, said only 44% of water remains in the state’s reservoirs as on 17 January, adding it was a “grave situation”, Deccan Chronicle reported.

In October, Mint reported that the state could be bracing for its worst drought in history in 2017.

Kerala witnessed shortage of 34% in southwest monsoon between June and September last year, which contributes close to 70% of its annual rainfall. The northeast monsoon between October and December too was delayed, as it has still not started raining even until end October, forcing the state to declare drought in October.

With the approach of summer, extreme weather conditions seem to be unravelling. Most parts of Kerala are witnessing dry conditions and water shortages, along with a collapse in farmlands across the state, according to reports in local newspapers.

The minister said that restrictions have been placed on digging borewells in the state, and Rs29.5 crore has been disbursed to districts to tackle drinking water problems.

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Drought: Kerala govt to regulate borewells
The Indian Express
In view of severe drought and fast depletion of ground water, the Kerala government has imposed strict restrictions for the digging of borewells in the state. An order has been issued entrusting District Collectors to invoke relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act to regulate the digging of new borewells in their respective areas. The construction can be stopped as per the recommendations of the District Groundwater Department officials, it said. “The construction of private borewells should be regulated,” the order added.

Man-animal conflict increases as Kerala faces severe drought
Rameshbabu KC, Hindustan Times
As Kerala slips into an unprecedented drought, wild animals have started raiding human settlements in search of water and food, endangering lives of people settled in fringe areas of the forest. Last week three people were gored to death by elephant herds in separate incidents in the forested Idukki and Wayanad districts.

Water woes in wet Kerala (excelletn report & analysis from 2004)
Down to Earth
Why do Kerala’s people have to drink stale water supplied by trucks? Why did farmers in Chittoor harvest their paddy before time? Why does a state with 3,000 mm of rain each year — almost three times more than the national average — suffer droughts? It’s true that Kerala has an extremely high population density (about 800 people per square km), but the water available through rainfall per capita per day is approximately a massive 11,500 litres. Why then can’t several parts of the state get even 50-60 litres of water for domestic use per person daily?

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