RAIN-SHADOW EFFECT (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     26th June 2024        
output themes

Context: Following last year's deficient monsoon, the Maharashtra government has declared several parts of the state drought-hit earlier this year, with significant areas in Marathwada receiving less than 75% of their average rainfall.

Rain-Shadow Effect

  • Geographical Context: Marathwada lies in the rain-shadow region of the Western Ghats.
  • Meteorological Process: Moist winds from the Arabian Sea rise and cool when they encounter the Western Ghats, leading to heavy rainfall (2,000-4,000 mm) on the windward side.
  • Impact on Marathwada: After crossing the Western Ghats, these winds descend into Western Maharashtra and Marathwada, losing moisture and resulting in much lower rainfall (600-800 mm) in Marathwada.
  • Impact of Climate Change on Water Availability

oResearch Findings: A 2016 study by IIT Gandhinagar highlights worsening drought severity and frequency in central Maharashtra.

oRegional Context: Marathwada and North Karnataka are now among the driest regions in India after the northwest, due to climate change impacts.

  • Effect of Water Demand for Crops

oAgricultural Practices: Traditional crops like cotton, pulses, and millets are better suited to Marathwada's low-rainfall environment.

oChallenges with Sugarcane: Sugarcane cultivation, demanding 1,500-2,500 mm of water, exacerbates the water crisis in Marathwada.

oWater Consumption: Despite occupying only 4% of the cropped area, sugarcane consumes 61% of irrigation water, reducing river outflow in the upper Bhima basin.

output themes