The Maharashtra Government on 13th August 2014 announced conditions akin to water scarcity in 123 of the total 355 talukas, due to insufficient rains. 123 talukas in 11 districts have received less than 50 per cent average rainfall. These districts include the entire Marathwada region and Buldhana, Washim and Yavatmal districts of Vidarbha.
Government efforts to mitigate this situation:
- It declared 33 per cent rebate in power tariff charged to agricultural pumps,
- Examination fee waiver to school children, and
- Remission in land revenue.
- It has fixed taluka as criteria and not district for declaring conditions akin to the scarcity.
Factsheet about rain in Maharashtra:
- State received 502 mm rainfall, which is 68.50 per cent of the average of August month.
- The water storage in reservoirs reached 61 per cent which was 73% during the corresponding period last year. However, in Marathwada region, the water storage is just 19 per cent.
About Drought conditions in Maharashtra:
- Maharashtra is a drought-prone state. Almost 70 percent of the State’s geographical area lies in semi-arid region rendering it vulnerable to water scarcity.
- Almost all the districts in Pune, Aurangabad, and Nashik divisions experience drought on a frequent basis. These districts include 87 Talukas which were originally included in the State’s Drought-Prone Area Programme (DPAP). These Talukas receive rains from the southwest monsoon, between 600 to 750 mm, almost all of which is received between June to October.
- Failure of monsoon affects both Kharif and Rabi crops in these areas. Further, inter-regional and inter-temporal variations in rainfall could also be very damaging for crops.
- The evaporation rate is high, and only in September the precipitation exceeds evaporation.
- Hard basalt rock in the region makes it further difficult to penetrate or store water.
- So when drought conditions appear in the region, the scarcity of water both for drinking water and cultivation is acute.