Maharashtra and Karnataka will go for cloud seeding or artificial rain procedure to tackle deficient rainfall. The target areas for cloud seeding will be identified based on factors such as rainfall deficit and moisture deficiency, cloud formation and data generated by the radars.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cloud seeding will be carried out in Aurangabad, Solapur and Ahmednagar districts in Maharashtra and Mysuru and Hubballi in Karnataka from Monday. Maharashtra had conducted a similar cloud-seeding experiment over Marathwada in 2015 while Karnataka had previously carried out cloud seeding in 2017.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts India is likely to get above-average rainfall in the next two weeks after receiving below average rains in the past two weeks.
IMD said the Government has decided to carry out cloud seeding for artificial rain in these regions. For that officials will survey the skies for next some days. “If the cloud density is sufficient then seeding will be done for artificial rain. Three planes for bringing about artificial rain in southern districts of Maharashtra along the borders of Karnataka and Telangana have arrived at the Solapur airport,” the IMD said.
Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification in which chemicals like silver iodide, potassium iodide, dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or liquid propane is dispersed in the air to act as cloud condensation to alter its microphysical processes.
In Karnataka, the progress of monsoon in Karnataka has not been satisfactory so far. While half of the State has received normal rains, there is deficit in the remaining areas. Cumulative rainfall across Karnataka this monsoon season has witnessed a deficiency of 19 per cent till date. The Malnad region that consists of Western Ghats has the highest deficit of 33 per cent, while the shortfall in the drought-prone North Interior Karnataka is at 21 per cent. The deficit in Coastal Region and South Interior Karnataka is estimated at 16 per cent each.
On the other hand, Maharashtra’s water crisis has been steadily worsening since last year, particularly in drought-hit Vidarbha and Marathwada. Nearly two months into the monsoon —that officially begins on June 1 — Marathwada and Vidarbha are facing rainfall deficits of 35 per cent and 42 per cent respectively (as on July 26).
Solapur, Osmanabad and several districts from Marathwada and Vidarbha have received rainfall between 50-75 per cent of their average precipitation while Maharashtra is experiencing an overall 9 per cent shortfall in rainfall. As on July 26, dams in the State have just 24 per cent water stock, compared to 46.5 per cent stock during the same time last year. Shockingly, dams in Marathwada have just 0.82 per cent of water.
According to IMD, the monsoon rains were 35 per cent below average in the week ending July 24, after receiving 20 per cent less rainfall in the prior week, raising concerns over the output of summer-sown crops.
Overall, the country has received 17 per cent less rain than average since the monsoon season began on June 1, but in some states such as Gujarat, the biggest producer of cotton and groundnut, the rainfall deficit is as high as 42 per cent. The country has received 325.5 mm as against the normal rainfall of 394.5 mm so far.
According to the Agriculture Ministry data released on Friday, the total kharif crops area covered so far remained 688.78 lakh hectares (lh), as compared to 736.18 lakh hectare, a less than 47.39 lakh hectare planted during the corresponding period last year, The sowing of rice, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals are worst affected. Rice planting till this week is stood at 185.14 lakh hectare as compared to 215.71 lakh hectare sown in the same week last year. Similarly, pulses cultivation recorded 9.24 lakh hectares less this year.