Heat Wave to Intensify Water Woes Across India
Most parts of the country are in the grip of an abnormally hot weather, which is aggravating the water shortage, and the heat wave is unlikely to abate until the onset of the monsoon season.
Temperature shot up to 45 degree Celsius at Titlagarh in Odisha, more than 5 degrees above normal in parts of eastern India and 3-5 degrees above normal in many parts of south India, West Bengal and Kashmir. In drought-hit Maharashtra the temperature has gone up 3 degrees higher than usual.
The water availability in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ended April 7 was 24% of the total storage capacity. This was 69% of the water available a year ago.
At higher temperatures, evaporation rate of water from various water bodies is 6-8 mm per day. Irrigation department officials said that measures such as creating a chemical film on the water surface have not proved to be useful in the past. “Not only is it a costly affair, but it is not effective either as wind can break the film,” said an official of Maharashtra’s irrigation department.
According to PCS Rao, additional director general (meteorology) at India Meteorological Department, there will be no respite from the heat wave conditions in most parts of the country in the next two-three days.
“Heat wave conditions will continue in Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Rayalseem and Tamil Nadu. Heat wave may develop in Marathwada in next two to three days, while in north India, temperatures may rise by 2 degree Celsius to 4 degree Celsius in next two to three days,” Rao said.
The sporadic rainfall and thunderstorm activity that takes place during this time in peninsular India has been absent this year.