May 2016 News

Parched Kashmir: The Less Talked About Drought Hit Part Of India

14 May 2016

New Delhi: Most parts of Kashmir have been witnessing strange enough dry weather conditions for the past few months now. The core winter period which makes some room for snow to shower have remained mostly absent throughout the year. This year there was no snowfall in the upper reaches of the valley. The harshest period of winter in Kashmir known as Chilla-i-Kalaan passed with no snow at all. The floods in 2014 had already inflicted mayhem on the agricultural production in the region. The advocacy group ActionAid's report of 2007 on climate change in Kashmir states that the average temperatures in the region rose 1.45 °C, whereas in Jammu the rise was of a staggering 2.32 C. The month of February which was the hottest month in the recorded history of humanity showed its impact on Kashmir also. On February 24, the temperatures in the valley hit a 76-year high of 20.6 °C. This was 10°C above normal! The unrelenting drought and rising temperatures have serious repercussions for the entire Kashmir valley. According to the executive director of the Global Change Impacts Studies Centre in Pakistan, Dr Irshad Muhammad Khan, 75 to 80 percent of water that flows to Pakistan is the melts from the Himalayan glaciers. As rivers dry up due to high temperatures, transboundary water sharing between India and Pakistan will come under severe strain, even have unwanted conflicts. The blooming of flowers in the Kashmir valley is a clear sign of change in the weather pattern. According to environmental experts, the continuing spell of dry weather will boast ill for agriculture in Kashmir. 'There has never been such a dry spell witnessed - ever,' said one of the famers in the valley. The agriculture industry provides livelihood to 30% of the state's population. The uncanny weather conditions will bring losses of unimaginable amounts forcing farmers to drop their machinery and move to bigger cities. The adverse change weather patterns have shown its plight in falling water levels in Kashmir's rivers. This will cause a drop in the hydroelectricity generation of Jammu and Kashmir. The high temperatures and dry weather conditions have made tourist stay out of Kashmir. Places like Gulmarg which use to be the flocked with tourist is now deserted. Kashmir is the only part in the country which is the home of Winter Games that were shut this time around. This fluctuation in the valley's weather will trigger strange weather anomalies such as excessive rain, colder summers, rising winter temperatures, increasing hailstorms and cloudbursts. Originally Published in The Citizen