On the cusp of the southwest monsoon, several arid States are hoping to revive their rivers and reservoirs(जलाशयों/संग्रह) with bountiful(भरपूर/प्रचुर) rain. One of them is Gujarat, which is roiled by the long-tail effect of a deficit monsoon between August and November last year. The State government has embarked(शुरू/लगना) on a labour-intensive(तीव्र/प्रचंड) programme to desilt(निराधार ) rivers and waterbodies(जल निकायों) ahead of the rains. Its predicament(कठिन परिस्थिति/दशा) reflects the larger reality of drought in India, aggravated(गंभीरता बढ़ाना/उत्तेजित करना) by heat waves and significant rain deficits in different regions. This year’s fall in reservoir storage levels to below-average levels has affected farmers who depend on the Sardar Sarovar dam, and 27 other reservoirs including those in Madhya Pradesh. A reinvigorated(पुनर्निर्मित/फिर से जान डाल) Congress in the opposition has turned the heat on the BJP government in Gujarat, which is hard put to defend itself against the charge that dam waters were depleted(समाप्त हो गया /कमज़ोर बनाना) merely to fill the Sabarmati river for a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December, when he undertook a seaplane journey on the river. Its response has been to roll out a campaign(अभियान) to deepen waterbodies on the one hand, and arrange religious events to propitiate the gods on the other. But it has had to prioritise(को प्राथमिकता) drinking water needs over farming, and suspend irrigation(सिंचाई) supply from the dam on March 15. This year, Delhi has been at loggerheads with Haryana over reduction of water released in the Yamuna, highlighting growing stresses over a vital resource. Urgent water management reforms must be undertaken to help citizens and avoid losses to the economy.

In a normal year, the pre-monsoon phase from March 1 brings some respite and India gets about 130 mm of precipitation(अत्यन्त शीघ्रता से/तेज़ी) before the rainy season begins. This year began with a sharp 50% deficit, but touched near-normal levels, though not in the northwestern region. The monsoon itself is highly variable(अस्थायी/परिवर्तनशील). This underscores the need for comprehensive reforms at the level of States, with the Centre helping to conserve hydrological resources. If Gujarat improves rural water storage structures and creates many small wetlands beyond thecompulsions(मजबूरियों/दबाव) of politics, it can ensure long-term prosperity for thousands of villages in Saurashtra, Kutch and the northern region where pumps run dry with unfailing(स्थिर) regularity(नियमितता/एकसमानता). Farmers will get relief from the monsoon vagaries(अनियमितताएं /सनक) that affect the Narmada, whose waters are apportioned(विभाजित/बांटना) among four States. There is also the challenge of reducing demand for farming, given that the Mihir Shah Committee estimated public irrigation efficiency(कार्यक्षमता/योग्यता) to be a low 35%. Farmers need to be helped with the latest technologies to cut water use. The State government is thinking of going in for desalination(विलुप्त/अलवणीकरण). Decentralised (विकेन्द्रीकृत)water storage too will help cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara when water supply from large dams and other sources dwindles. If climate change is going to influence(प्रभाव) monsoon vigour and availability in coming years, the time to take action is now.



Important Vocabulary


Synonyms: ample, lavish, magnanimous, plentiful, aplenty
Antonyms: meager, scarce, insufficient, lacking, meagre

Synonyms: accelerated, all-out, comprehensive, demanding, in-depth
Antonyms: superficial, incomplete, incomprehensive, surface

3.Reinvigorated(पुनर्निर्मित/फिर से जान डाल)
Synonyms: enliven, modernize, rejuvenate, renew, renovate
Antonyms: destroy, kill, ruin, depress, discourage

Synonyms: commence,, enter, launch, board, emplane
Antonyms: cease, end, finish, stop, disembark

5.Depleted(समाप्त हो गया /कमज़ोर बनाना)
Synonyms: drained, reduced, vacant, weakened, bare
Antonyms: energized, full, augmented, enlarged, increased

6.Precipitation(अत्यन्त शीघ्रता से/तेज़ी)
Synonyms:drizzle, rain, rainfall, rainstorm, sleet
Antonyms: dryness

Synonyms: coercion, obsession, preoccupation, urgency, constraint
Antonyms: free will, freedom, independence, liberty, license

8.Vagaries(अनियमितताएं /सनक)
Synonyms: quirk, whim, crotchet, fancy, humor



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