General Studies Paper 1 (Geography of India & World)
Question:- 28. Why do places like Mawsynram and Cherrapunji that apparently receive the highest rainfall in the country face recurrent droughts? Explain. Answer in 150 words.
Jul 30, 2022



The places of Mawsynram and Cherrapunji are used to clouds floating  near surface. But once the monsoon is over people have to battles water crisis during dry months. They have to queue up at taps and fight for water as these areas, though receive the highest amount of rainfall, face recurrent droughts.


LINKAGE POINT: The following are the reasons:



  1. 1.Deforestation by illegal logging groups enjoying political patronage has badly damaged the forests around Cherrapunji, and that has adversely affected the local ecology. The places still get much rain, but with very few trees still standing, all the water just flows off the steep hills.
  2. 2.There is no culture of rain harvesting, as residents never felt it was necessary.
  3. 3.The high intensity rainfall has almost ruined the top soil health, and the considerable part of land is exposed to hard rocks, which doesn’t provide any opportunity time to rain water to infiltrate into the deeper soil, hence poor state of ground water.
  4. 4.Rainfall in Cherrapunji replenishes the ground water, thereby providing people a water to use. Earlier people in the state had traditional Assam type houses where bore wells were a common sight in these houses. Also one could find hot springs in abundance across the state. However, with rapid development and clusters of urban jungle coming up in place of the natural jungle the number hot springs and bore wells are also decreasing. So earlier when people faced water shortage these came in handy.
  5. 5.Increasing population and hotter climates- at about 8,000mm to 9,000mm, the present average is only about a third of the annual rainfall compared with only 40 years ago. These two factors have resulted into reduced rainfall on one hand and increasing pressure on available water resources due to more number of persons.


So, these places suffer acute water scarcity when the rainfall starts to drop sharply from November until March. The water supply systems that were meant to cater to a small population are unable to cater to an ever increasing population. The residents have to walk down the hill for several hours to fetch water from the springs. These problems need to be addressed on a priority basis. Alternative solutions need to be resorted to. The local water supply system can also be improved. The mountainous lands may not support the construction of large reservoir but roof top rain water harvesting can make a difference. More or less, checking climate change and its effects will go a long way in solving the problem in the long run.