As of June 23rd, the Monsoon deficit has fallen to 38%, from about 43% a week ago. The weather conditions in the country have panned out exactly in the manner we had forecast. The Southwest Monsoon has shown some improvement in the last couple of days and the Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) made progress for the fourth consecutive day yesterday.
In the next 2-3 days, it is likely to extend further and cover entire Maharashtra including Mumbai and Chhattisgarh and some more parts of East Uttar Pradesh.
In the wake of the NLM moving forward, rainfall is likely to enhance over Central India like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. South India will also observe increased rainfall activity in Kerala, Coastal Karnataka, Interior Karnataka and adjoining North Telangana. Parts of East India like Bihar and northern parts of West Bengal will continue to receive good rains for the next 24-48 hours.
As reiterated earlier, this does look like the best period (June 21 to June 30) for Southwest Monsoon so far. Sowing of crops should be taken up in Central, South and East India. The below table shows improving soil moisture content in these regions. As the moist winds from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are penetrating Central and Northwest India the soil moisture content is likely to improve further. Here is a comparison of soil moisture improvement from May 31 to June 17. The blue patches indicate an increase in soil moisture content.
However, the overall performance of Monsoon has been very lacklustre, and the entire country has been staring at a large rainfall deficit. Central India, where agriculture is hugely dependent on the Monsoon rains is deficient by 50% so far. And if we look at the status of the reservoirs in the region currently, 10 out of the total 12 reservoirs are 40% less than their long-term average capacity.
Talking about South India, which is among the largest contributors of Monsoon rain in the country, the deficiency stands at 35%. And the 30 out of the 31 reservoirs in the region have 40% less storage than their long-term average capacity.
Similar conditions prevail in North, West and East India. The following table very well explains the alarming situation of the reservoirs in the country due to poor Monsoon rains.
*Source Central Water Commission
The deficiency is certainly worrisome for the Monsoon dependent farming sector of the country. However, with some good rains expected in the next 3-4 days in South, Central and East India the deficiency in all the three regions would come down and the reservoirs would see some improvement in their storage capacity. Therefore, we again reiterate that this is the best time for sowing of the Kharif crops like Soybean, Paddy and Cotton if not done already.
Mumbai will start getting sustained rain from around/after the 25th of June. That week looks particularly busy. This spell will alleviate any water problems that the city is dealing with, and this week could have few big spells. But unfortunately, Chennai is not going to see any major rainfall in the next two weeks. The water situation in the city will remain acute.