At least 7 districts in Odisha likely to go the parched Chennai way by 2030!

The Baseline Water Stress map released by Niti Aayog recently clubs districts like Khurda, Puri, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Kandhmal and Nayagarh as high water-stressed districts

Bhubaneswar: As non-heeding to the warnings in 2010 made Chennai face the scary travails of a parched land in 2019,  the apparent date for a similar condition in Odisha is likely  around 2030, when its big coastal towns, including the Capital city, would go the Chennai way.

The shocker here is as many as seven districts in the coastal and south interior Odisha have been declared high water stress zone, based on the 2010 data on proportionate withdrawal and flow of water in the districts. It has been observed that the gap between water withdrawal and availability in the districts hovered between 40 per cent and 80 per cent.

This was revealed in the recently released Composite Water Management Index by Niti Aayog.

The fact is, the same baseline data had declared Chennai as extremely high water stressed, where the gap has been estimated at over 80 per cent. And the reality now in Chennai is for all to discern.

An analysis further projects that with such a proportionate water stress position, the districts, especially the urban centres, will turn arid zones by the year 2030. The caveat here, however, is unless remedial steps are taken to augment the water budget of the areas, day is not far when Odisha will reel under water scarcity.

Significantly, water reservoirs in Chennai are brimming following the generous monsoon and worst ever flood in 2015.  But two successive deficit monsoons thereafter had precipitated the worst ever water crisis in Chennai’s history in 2019.

Sample the rainfall scenario of the high water-stress districts in the State.

In Khurda district, the rainfall distribution for the last 5 -year period (2014-18) looks discouraging. The deficit in November to March ranged in between 8 per cent and 100 per cent, whereas in the Monsoon months of June and August, it ranged from 10 per cent to 75 per cent. The months of July and September in the district had recorded deficient rainfall in two consecutive years during the last 5-year period.

Puri district had also recorded deficient rainfall in most of the months in a year, except for the rainy months, during the last 5-years.

The rainfall position in Ganjam looks worse as a status of deficient rainfall is measured round the year, except for the Monsoon months of June-August. However, for the two consecutive years of 2015 & 2016, the Monsoon months of July and August in the district were also in the deficient zone.

The rainfall scenario is more or less the same in the districts like Rayagada and Gajapati.

As per the Baseline Water Stress map, Odisha’s western districts like Bolangir, Bargarh, Deogarh, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and parts of Sundergarh were declared as having medium to high water stress condition.

And given that since all districts here had recorded deficient precipitation ranging from 9 per cent to 73 per cent even in the monsoon months during the last five -year period, it has been observed that the urban centres in the districts may face a dry scenario by 2030.

Sample the instance of Bolangir and Bargarh. Bolangir district had experienced deficient rainfall during the Monsoon months for the last 5-year period. And Bargarh had experienced so for four years during the last half-decade.