Drought Mitigation Measures in Uttar Pradesh.


Prolonged and recurrent drought, being experienced in India and various parts of South Asia, is the manifestation of climate change, partly caused by human interventions. Drought has been one of the primary reasons for widespread poverty and environmental degradation including deteriorating water quality and water security. The world has been more drought-prone during the past 25 years and the vulnerability of tropical countries to drought is likely to increase (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). The South Asian region has been among the perennially drought-prone regions of the world. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal have experienced droughts at least once in three years in the past five decades. The effect of climate change has been observed the world over in the past several decades in the form of flash floods, hurricanes, droughts, changing precipitation patterns, heat waves and other natural disasters. Indo-Gangetic plains, in which the State of Uttar Pradesh is located, have very fertile crop lands with immense potential. Although more than 80% of the crop lands are irrigated in the region, irrigation is not assured throughout the year. Dependence on rainfall for cultivation makes crop production vulnerable to frequent moisture deficits. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is divided into 71 districts and 9 agro-climatic regions. During 2008-09, failure of monsoon threatened the projected growth rate of 6.1% of the Indian economy, as 278 (44 %) out of 820 districts of India were affected by drought. Of these, 58 districts were in Uttar Pradesh, the largest food grain producing State. Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal are chronically drought affected areas while the central plains and eastern plains are prone to floods alternated by drought. Paradoxically, when there was drought in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in 2008-09, in Bundelkhand there was excess rainfall, causing excessive runoff and soil erosion from the barren hills into the swelled up seasonal streams and rivers.

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