Kerala Towards Drought (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Disaster)

News-CRUX-10     23rd August 2023        

Context: Kerala has received 45 percent less rain than normal this season, and increasing heat severely affected power generation and drinking water needs across the state. Only 36 percent of water remains in the reservoirs managed by the state electricity board.

Key Points

  • Palakkad: The most water-scarce district in Kerala, facing critical drinking water shortage.
  • Bharathapuzha River: In Shornur, Palakkad, Kerala's second-largest river, Bharathapuzha, has dwindled to a mere trickle. 
  • This situation has intensified the drinking water scarcity in Shornur and the neighboring Ottappalam.
  • Malampuzha: Kerala's largest drinking water reservoir, there is a significant depletion of 58 percent. 
  • At present, Peppara Dam can provide drinking water for only the next 100 days.
  • Idukki: Kerala's biggest hydroelectric power project, has received 60% less rain this season. This could affect power generation at the Idukki hydroelectric station.
  • Climate experts opined that this month is becoming one of the most rain-starved Augusts on record due to a looming El Nino.

About El Nino

  • This phenomenon involves the periodic warming of seawater in the central-east Equatorial Pacific, occurring at irregular intervals.
  • El Niño Effects: During El Niño events, temperatures on the surface of the Pacific Ocean along the equator increase, leading to a weakening of trade winds. 
  • Wind Shift: The typical easterly trade winds that flow from the Americas towards Asia are disrupted during El Niño.
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