WHILE MOST of Saurashtra experienced very heavy rainfall last week and quelled worries of another poor monsoon in the water-starved region, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka districts are still running a significant rain deficit. Farmers are concerned about the shortage of irrigation water in these two districts, even as monsoon is at its peak.
As of Friday, Porbandar district had received 333 mm (13 inch) of rainfall, according to data compiled by Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, making for only 48.35 per cent of the 689 mm (28 inch) long-term average rainfall in the district. Notably, Ranavav – one of the three talukas of the district – has received only 324 mm rainfall, which amounts to 45.17 per cent of the ten-year average. Kutiyana taluka has received 51.35 per cent of its average rainfall, while Porbandar taluka has logged 48.58 per cent so far.
Porbandar receives the third-highest average rainfall annually, among all 11 districts of Saurashtra region, falling behind Gir Somnath (37 inch) and Junagadh (35 inch) – the districts which share their border with Porbandar. But this year, the coastal district is yet to get its quota of rain.
Consequently, save Amipur dam, the other five major reservoirs in the district are almost dry. Advana and Sorthi dams are completely dry, while Khambhala and Kalindir dams have a negligible storage of 4.23 per cent and 6.79 per cent respectively. Phodamess has 20.72 per cent storage, and only Amipur is 66.33 per cent full.
In all, the dams have a total of 28 per cent storage of their designed gross storage capacity. As the dams are empty, farmers – who have sown groundnuts in 79,300 hectare and cotton in 9,300 hectare – are worried about the availability of irrigation water. According to the latest data complied by the Directorate of Agriculture of Gujarat, sowing has been done in 97,000 hectare in Porbandar.
The scenario is not very different in the neighbouring Devbhoomi Dwarka district, which has experienced 58 per cent rainfall so far. The district has recorded 361 mm (14.5 inch) rainfall, against its ten-year average of 621 mm. Bhanvad taluka has recorded only 256 mm (41.50 per cent), while Kalyanpur is also running a huge deficit at 390 mm (53.38 per cent). Khambhaliya (564 mm, 68 per cent) and Dwarka ( 331 mm, 73 per cent) are comparatively better off.
Incidentally, Devbhoomi Dwarka had had a highly deficient monsoon last year. Major dams like Sani, Vartu-I, Vartu-II, and Ghee also bone dry. The dams in the district have an average of only 4.26 per cent storage of their capacity, lowest among the 11 districts of Saurashtra.
Like Porbandar, Dwarka too receives higher average rainfall at 616 mm (25 inch) and is a major groundnut-growing district. Farmers have sown the oilseed in 1.84 lakh hectare and cotton in 5,600 hectare. The low rainfall is in stark contrast to the average 76.35 per cent rainfall of Saurashtra region. It had experienced very heavy rainfall a week ago, significantly reducing the shortfall in precipitation this season.
Even districts like Surendranagar, Morbi and Bhavnagar with lower average rainfall are better placed this season, with 82.59 per cent, 102.23 per cent and 83.16 per cent rainfall respectively. Barring Gir Somnath, the other eight districts have received 70 per cent or more rainfall. Jamnagar district, which shares its border with Devbhoomi Dwarka district, has recorded an average 540 mm rainfall, which is more than 58 per cent of its long-term average. Meanwhile, light to moderate rainfall was reported from isolated places in Saurashtra region on Friday.