Date of this Version
Haryana state is considered the breadbasket of India, along with the Punjab state. The effects of drought (and mitigation of those effects) are therefore of considerable importance for the state. This article considers the state’s drought “profile” through a study of six drought years in Haryana.
Haryana has a semiarid climate in the southwest and a Gangetic plain environment in the rest of the state. About 50% of the state has a moisture deficit. One of the reasons for adverse crop production in the state during June–September is the early withdrawal or late onset of monsoon rains, which contribute nearly 80% of the state’s annual rainfall. The monsoon rain during June–September ranges from 284 mm to 521 mm in the drier western and southern plains and from 333 mm to 721 mm in the eastern districts of the state. The normal value during the period is 601 mm. Figure 1 shows the rainfall pattern during the kharif crop growing season (June–September) for the period 1977 to 1989. Out of 15 years, about 6 drought years have been identified: 1979, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, and 1989. The minimum deficit was 193 mm (1982) and the maximum rainfall deficit was 437 mm (1987) from the normal seasonal rainfall. Dependable precipitation at 75% level of probability is also depicted in Figure 1. Out of 12 districts in the state, 4 are drought-prone. The main problems with agricultural drought in this region are erratic rainfall; poor soil fertility; and limited, poor-quality irrigation water. Table 1 shows rainfall amounts and crops cultivated in the drought-prone districts of Haryana. Invariably, bajra, jowar, and maize crops are grown in the drought-prone districts in the monsoon season, whereas wheat, barley, mustard, and gram are grown with irrigation during the winter season. These winter-season crops are called rabi crops.