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Gwynne Dyer: More than just a late monsoon

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02.07.2019

The monsoon rains are finally arriving in central and northern India, but they are two weeks late — too late for many farmers. For some parts of the country, it has been 200 days without rain.

Late May and early June are always brutal in northern India, as the heat builds up and the humidity rises. This year, with the monsoon so delayed, it has been particularly bad, with the temperature hitting 48°C in Delhi last month — the hottest June day on record — and in Rajasthan. And countrywide rainfall for this year is down 37 per cent.

The heat and drought don't just cause discomfort. After a few years of late or poor monsoons the level of the groundwater drops and wells run dry. This year hundreds, perhaps thousands of villages have been temporarily abandoned as the residents moved to towns where there was still water, and in the state of Maharashtra alone 6,000 tanker-trucks were delivering water to other hard-hit villages.

The Indian government has just created a new Ministry of Water Power to tackle water conservation and management (better late than never), but it can't solve the problem. Food production is falling, people........

© Peterborough Examiner