Average rainfall in the last 18 days has been only 38 mm
The sudden decline in rainfall in Udupi district has left farmers, and also people, worried. The decline in rainfall has reduced the inflow into rivers and the level of water in wells and other water bodies too has gone down.
According to information provided by the district administration, the average rainfall in the district in September is 346 mm. In September 2017, the rainfall received by the district was 363.2 mm. But in the last 18 days of this month, the rainfall received was 38 mm.
Suresh Nayak Mundaje, who grows paddy, musk melons, watermelons and vegetables in 20.5 acres of land at Mundaje village near Hiriyadka, told The Hindu that the water level in the Swarna has gone down.
“The water level now in the river here is what it is used to be in November-December. This has affected agricultural operations. Our fields are dry. My fields were damaged due to heavy rainfall a couple of months ago; now there is no rain,” he said.
B.V. Poojary, president of the Udupi district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, said that water should be standing in fields for paddy crops. But that was not the case now as there was no rain in Perdoor area for the last 20 days, he said.
H.N. Udayshankar, professor, Department of Geology, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), said that the groundwater was getting into deeper zones due to recent tectonic movements. If the groundwater level falls, the availability of water till the end of May cannot be ensured, he said.
His solution to the problem is that the gates of the vented dams should be closed soon. “Farmers and people in villages should build earthen blocks or ‘kattas’ on streams to store water. This way groundwater can be made available for two-three months. The government should also order a detailed study,” he said.
However, K. Raghavendra, Environment Engineer of the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC), said that the inflow into the Baje Dam against the Swarna at Baje village, about 24 km from here, was unaffected. At present, the water level in the dam is 5.85 m. There is also overflow of excess water. “We will be worried only if the inflow stops,” he said.
But he agreed that the water level has gone down in the wells.
“This is because rainfall has declined in September and there is no replenishment. If it rains again, there will be replenishment,” he said.