Climate paradox in Karkala: From rainy abundance to drought despair

Team Udayavani, Sep 21, 2023, 10:41 AM IST

Karkala, nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats and adjacent to Agumbe, which is renowned for its Cherrapunji-like rainfall patterns, finds itself in an unprecedented situation as it grapples with severe drought conditions. This marks the first instance in its history that the taluk has faced such a dire predicament.

Surprisingly, despite being the recipient of the highest rainfall in Karnataka from 2015 to 2021, as per data from the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, Udupi district now includes Karkala taluk among its severely drought-affected regions. It’s a striking irony that a place known for its copious rains can suddenly be plagued by drought.

The ongoing season has been particularly harsh, with a notable scarcity of rainfall in the district. Notably, Karkala taluk isn’t alone in this struggle, as Brahmavar taluk also finds itself on the list of areas moderately affected by drought.

To better understand the extent of the drought, a comprehensive study was undertaken during the 2023 monsoon season. This study involved a dedicated team, including the District Collector, officials from agriculture, horticulture, and revenue departments, as well as other personnel. The team scrutinized the drought situation in Marne, Ninjur, Renjala, and Bola villages within the taluk. They employed a mobile app for field confirmation of crop damage and compiled a detailed report.

The criteria for assessing drought encompassed various factors, including rainfall patterns, moisture levels, groundwater indices, water storage in dams and reservoirs, and river inflow. A taluk’s susceptibility to drought is determined by comparing these factors against normal rainfall patterns.

Based on this model study, the government has taken the step of including two taluks in Udupi district on the list of drought-prone areas. Additional studies are in the pipeline, with a focus on agriculture, horticulture, and revenue departments, as authorities work diligently to address the pressing issue of drought, said Satish, Technical Officer, Department of Agriculture.

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