Impact of Reduced Himalayan Snowfall on Water Availability and Kharif Crops in India

Over the past five years, climate change has manifested in altered water availability trends, affecting the agricultural sector in India. The delayed melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region due to reduced snowfall has led to a decline in water levels in rivers, dams, and reservoirs. The Kharif season, spanning from April to September, plays a vital role in India's agricultural calendar and the success of Kharif crops depends heavily on the timely availability of water, largely sourced from the melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region. The impact of climate change, coupled with the complex and variable nature of El Nino events, has led to a concerning pattern of reduced snowfall, affecting water availability for agriculture. The previous year also witnessed a lack of rainfall due to the impact of El Nino. This compounded the water scarcity issue, leading to crop failure and agricultural distress in various parts of the country. The persisting weak western disturbances over the Himalay region continue to raise concerns for the upcoming Kharif season. As of January 11, 2024, data from the Reservoir Storage bulletin reveals that the total live storage of the country stands at 145.342 BCM, significantly below the estimated 257.812 BCM. Weak western disturbances have resulted in the absence of heavy snowfall and rains in the Himalayan regions, further exacerbating the situation. The current scenario, with limited snowfall in the Himalayas, indicates that glaciers may not melt adequately, resulting in insufficient water availability for the rivers, dams, and reservoirs. This, in turn, poses a direct threat to the cultivation of Kharif crops, particularly in states heavily dependent on these water sources. States such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha are particularly vulnerable to the impact of reduced water availability. The cultivation of essential crops like paddy, sugarcane, jute, maize, pulses, etc. is at risk, potentially leading to significant economic losses for farmers. Farmers are advised to regularly monitor the weather patterns of their village via Fasal Salah App and take timely actions suiting to their crops. Farmers are also advised to diversify crops and adopt resilient varieties that require less water which can help buffer against the uncertainties in water availability.

Insert title here