Hindustan Times (Jammu)

Snow, rain recharge Valley’s water sources, farmers upbeat

- Mir Ehsan letterschd@hindustant­imes.com

The rainfall in Kashmir over the past week has given a new lease on life to the Valley’s fruit and agricultur­e and also recharged the depleting water table.

Tourist resort of Gulmarg recorded over three feet of snow, and Pahalgam and Sonamarg also had good snow accumulati­on in last ten days when back to back Western Disturbanc­es were active over Kashmir. The upper ridges recorded have also seen snow accumulati­on of five to six feet. According to the local meteorolog­ical office, Srinagar recoded 27mm rain and 10.9 cm snow from January 27 to April 5. In the same time period, Pahalgam saw 58.4mm rain and 51.8cm snow, Kupwara had 55.2mm rain and 31 cm snow, Gulmarg saw 115.9mm rain and 102.1cm snow. Ganderbal, Baramulla and Bandipora recorded 41mm, 63 mm and 67 mm rain, respective­ly.

“The rural economy is dependent on horticultu­re and agricultur­e. Fruit trees require a particular­ly cool enviornmen­t in December and January. The above-normal temperatur­es in January were dangerous for the fruit industry. From past 10 to 15 days, snow and rainfall have resulted in desirable temperatur­es for the fruit trees. I hope that this time, we

don’t have early flowering in orchards, which plays spoilsport,” said Abdul Gaffar, a horticultu­re expert.

Jammu and Kashmir reeled

under a prolonged dry spell amid harsh winter conditions, with barely any precipitat­ion from December till January 29. Experts attributed the shift in weather pattern to climate change, scarce western disturbanc­es and the El Nino phenomenon.

“The dry spell had resulted in depletion of many water sources, including the Jhelum river, which was flowing at record-low levels. After the rains, things have stabilised to some extent. There should be cycles of snow and rains in coming days,” said Baramulla resident Murtuza Ahmad.

Jalal Jeelani, an environmen­tal expert, said that from couple of years, Kashmir is witnessing less snowfall and prolonged dry spell due to various environmen­tal changes .

“For Kashmir, snow in winter and sufficient rains in spring are necessary for the fruit industry and its water table. Any change in weather pattern has direct impact on our fruit industry, agricultur­e and even tourism. For good fruit yield, we need sufficient snow in winters. I am hopeful that there will be more snow in coming days,” he said.

 ?? ANI ?? A tourist enjoys during snowfall at Patnitop in Udhampur on Tuesday.
ANI A tourist enjoys during snowfall at Patnitop in Udhampur on Tuesday.

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