Another Deadly Monsoon
Hundreds dead, tens of thousands displaced, this year’s delayed monsoon has devastated states across India. After suffering its worst floods last year since 1924, Kerala is once again forced to cope with calamity. Erstwhile Congress president Rahul Gandhi, MP for Wayanad, travelled to his battered constituency, visiting relief camps and making appeals for aid. A report released this month by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that irrigation in India might be playing a role in delaying monsoons and decreasing the intensity of rainfall early in the season. It said there is clear evidence that incidents of extreme rainfall have multiplied, with central India experiencing a three-fold increase between 1950 and 2015. The unpredictability of rainfall too has been growing, prompting IIT campuses in Mumbai, Chennai and Mandi to pore over 100 years of monsoon data to discern patterns that might help with forecasts. Despite heavy monsoons and a number of natural water sources, India remains among the most ‘water-stressed’ countries in the world, says a World Resources Institute report, mostly due to inefficient agriculture and mismanagement.