Farmers fearful attributable to dry spell, no rain in sight until aug 15

With the dry spell within the state prone to stretch until this weekend, on the peak of the monsoon season, farmers, particularly in Saurashtra, are fearful about crops getting affected as dams and groundwater sources to irrigate their crops haven’t been replenished.

Bapalal Parmar, a farmer of Kukda village in Muli taluka of Surendranagar district, has not been in a position to sow his 200 bigha holding and is fearful that castor he sowed in 30 bigha will fail if it doesn’t rain quickly. “There is no water in Wadhwan Bhogavo-I dam from which we get water through canal. Nor is there enough water in borewells on my farm. Therefore, presently I am irrigating cotton (10 bigha) and groundnut (4 bigha) as there is drip installed. Castor crop will fail if it doesn’t rain in the next few days,” says Parmar.

Suresh Bhalala, a farmer in Babra village of Amreli and chairman of the farmers’ co-operative of Babra, Amrapar and Galkotdi villages, too is dealing with related issue. “It hasn’t rain for more than two weeks now and dams and wells are empty. I am struggling to irrigate my cotton and groundnut crops in 20 bigha.”

Power provide stays erratic in Amreli, which was among the many districts that noticed the longest energy outage submit the Tauktae cyclone.

Dhiru Pathar from Jalila village in Amreli taluka, nevertheless, is grateful that the cyclone not less than recharged the wells. “But power supply is very erratic and therefore, I am struggling to irrigate my cotton crop in 22 bigha,” says Pathar.

Last week, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, at a public occasion, expressed concern over lull within the rain mentioning how water within the Narmada reservoir was already much less.

On August 5, the state authorities introduced to launch 3,500 cusec from Narmada dam and three,000 cusec from Kadana dam on Mahi river for 15 days to assist farmers of Anand and Kheda irrigate, following calls for from the elected representatives.

Agriculture in most elements of Saurashtra, the cotton and groundnut bowl of the state, is rain-fed. But with the poor rainfall, 141 main dams within the area have simply 40% storage, state authorities information exhibits. While the state has recorded a median of 36.28 per cent rainfall (304 mm) of the monsoon season thus far, the north Gujarat districts of Gandhinagar and Aravalli have reported a median of 25.74 % and 22.4% rain respectively. MK Jadav, secretary within the water sources division of the state authorities, says that this yr the general storage is decrease by round 5% in opposition to the conventional of 55%.

“Crops sown early might encounter low moisture levels in some districts where there is no facility of irrigation. However, dams in south and central Gujarat get bulk of their inflow during August-September. We had released some Narmada water two weeks ago for irrigation. That said, water level in Narmada dam is also not comfortable and we have to give priority to drinking water supply,” mentioned Jadav. Dams of central and south Gujarat have 44% and 58% storage respectively, whereas Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river has 46.57% storage.

The total storage within the state stood at 12,037 Million Cubic Metre (MCM) or 47.68% on Monday. It is over 1,455 MCM much less as in comparison with the corresponding day final yr.

On Monday, the Narmada dam, which has a Full Reservoir Level (FRL) capability of 138.68 meters, recorded 116.45 meters with stay storage of 700 MCM.

On July 25, the dam had recorded a degree of 115.36 meters with stay storage of 555.25 meters. SSNNL officers mentioned that because the water yr is counted from July 1 to June 30, yearly, the present degree of the dam is “not a concern”. But as in comparison with final yr, Narmada dam’s gross storage is 431 MCM much less.

Superintendent engineer of Ukai dam on Tapi river, H R Mahakaal, mentioned, “This year the rainfall is less but we have one month more (of the monsoon). We have sufficient water in the dam to cater to year-end requirements for irrigation, drinking, and other uses. Some parts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh received heavy rainfall and the water directly reaches Ukai dam. During last year we have supplied 270 Million Cubic Meter water (MCM) for industrial purpose, 75 MCM for drinking, 420 MCM to SMC, and 3,100 MCM for irrigation. Today live storage of water in the dam is 3,740.28 MCM.”

Regional director of IMD, Manorama Mohanty, advised The Indian Express, “There is no change in the forecast as no system has developed or looks like developing by August 15. So, till August 15, there will be no major rainfall activity in the state.”

A senior officer of the agriculture division who wished to stay nameless, mentioned, “The talukas where there is no rain in 14-21 days, we are monitoring them. And right now the crop health is not at all cause for concern. Because the system is going to develop around August 15, and as per the crop cycle, if it rains during that period it will suffice our requirement,” mentioned the officer.

The Kharif sowing within the state stands at 75.73 lakh or 88.52% of final three years’ common. Cotton and groundnut acreage stands at 22.40 lakh hectare (88%) and 19 lakh hectare (112%), authorities information exhibits. “Right now things are under control. If the rains do not come within the window period, there are contingence provisions, but currently there is no need to panic,” the officer mentioned.

The groundnut crop is at pod-formation stage, whereas cotton has begun flowering. “Crops have started wilting in land with very low moisture-holding capacity, especially in Vinchhiya and Jasdan talukas. If it doesn’t rain within a week, yields of groundnut and cotton can be affected adversely,” Ramesh Tilala, district agricultural officer (DAO) of Rajkot, says.

“Moisture demand by groundnut and cotton remain the highest at pod-formation and flowering stages respectively. The crop situation is good till now but rain showers are needed within next five six days,” SR Kosami, DAO of Bhavnagar, the district the place 50% agriculture is rainfed, mentioned.

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