‘Jhelum water level at all-time low’: J&K records 38% rainfall deficit this year so far

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Srinagar: Call it a climate change fallout, Jammu and Kashmir has recorded a 38 percent rainfall deficit this year so far.

Experts suggest that the reason for the less rainfall can be attributed to “climate change”. Climate change describes a change in the average conditions — such as temperature, wind speed, and rainfall — in a region over a long period.

Figures show that Jammu and Kashmir recorded a rainfall deficit of 38 percent in the last five months of 2022. The UT has received only 345.4mm of rainfall between January 1st and May 31st against normal rainfall of 559.2mm. In 2021, J&K recorded 894.5mm of rainfall against an average of 1258.7mm. Likewise, in 2020, the UT received 979.1mm of rainfall against an average figure of 1258.7mm.

Further, data showed that the march of 2022, which is considered to be the wettest month in terms of rainfall, was almost 10 degrees warmer compared to the previous years. Similarly, April too witnessed above-normal temperatures.

“In April, Jhelum, nallahs, and springs witnessed a considerable decrease in water levels. By May-end, some small nallahs had dried up completely. Jhelum too reached its all-time lowest figure for this time of the season. Such low water levels used to reach only in autumn. Only good rainfall in the summer and autumn seasons can help the conditions from getting worse,” Faizan Arif, owner of channel ‘Kashmir Weather’ said.

Senior Assistant Professor, Department of Geoinformatics, Dr. Irfan Rashid said the increased warming in the last five months has resulted in less rainfall.

Rashid said that Kashmir’s economy is predominantly agriculture-dependent which needs to be regularly and amply irrigated. Nearly 70%of the population is directly or indirectly engaged in agricultural and allied occupations.

“If the present conditions continue to prevail, it can lead to the decrease in agricultural productivity, loss of glacial mass at a faster rate compared to previous years, the decline in hydropower generation, and drinking water scarcity,” he said.