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    Weak rains lead to 4 per cent seasonal deficit

    Synopsis

    Water level in reservoir in Andhra Pradesh ,Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra below normal even as weather office said 73 per cent of India got excess or normal rain

    Water level in reservoir in Andhra Pradesh,Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra below normal even as weather office said 73 per cent of India got excess or normal rain.
    NEW DELHI: Weak rainfall in July may lead to a more than 4 per cent deficit in this year’s monsoon midway through the four-month season, although water levels in reservoirs remained better than last year, except in south India.

    With the shortfall in July, the season’s rainfall will slip into a deficit from a surplus of more than 16 per cent at the end of June, weather officials said. The India Meteorological Department is scheduled to issue July data on Friday. "We should expect the rainfall deficit in the month of July at 14-15 per cent, compared to our forecast of an 8 per cent deficit," said DS Pai, head of long-range forecasting at the IMD.

    He said prevailing El Nino conditions and an unfavorable Madden Julian Oscillation, an atmospheric disturbance, led to the weak rains this month. The MJO traverses the globe and counters the adverse effects of the warming of waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, brought on by the El Nino, by bringing heavy rains. Private forecaster Skymet Weather Services had predicted that rainfall over the country in July would be 2 per cent above normal. July accounts for over 35 per cent of the total rainfall in the June-September monsoon season, according to the long-period average.

    "The year 2015 is better than the previous year. By July 31, we expect the season to end with a deficit of 4 per cent, compared with deficits of 24 per cent in 2014 and 20 per cent in 2009, a drought year," said GP Sharma, VP meteorology at Skymet. The IMD also expects good rainfall in the first 10 days of August, which was not the case in 2009. Rainfall in the country on Thursday was 47 per cent below average, following a week of above-normal rainfall. "The week July 23 to 29 was the wettest in the season since June 1, with rainfall 21 per cent higher than normal at 82 mm.

    This will aid in crop planting and improve reservoir position," said Sharma. The water level in the country’s major reservoirs was 8 per cent higher than the normal level at this time of the year. The Central Water Commission, which monitors 91 major reservoirs that feed hydropower plants and irrigate fields, said 45 per cent of their capacity, or 70.7 billion cubic metres, had been filled as of July 30. "Monsoon deficit so far has not adversely affected the country’s water reservoir levels, except in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, where the usage of water for drinking and irrigation may have to be regulated if it doesn’t rain soon," a government official said.

    Data from the IMD showed that 23 out of the country’s 36 subdivisions received excess or normal rainfall this season, while some parts of south and east India got less rainfall. The weather office said 73 per cent of the country’s area received excess or normal rainfall this year. The situation has improved significantly in western India, especially Gujarat, where the monsoon rain was above normal after heavy showers in July. The weather office will issue its next update on the second half of the monsoon season by August 1-2, said Pai.

    Skymet will put out its revised estimates for the monsoon shortly. In the next 24 hours, the met department has forecast very heavy rain in parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura and Andhra Pradesh. Heavy rainfall is also expected at few places in north, northwest, west and central India.
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