Number crunching helps farmers manage water
Calculating water availability and crop budgeting can prevent over-extraction of groundwater and mounting farm debt. Manu Moudgil posted 2 years 9 months ago

At 42 years, Bhagwat Ghagare seems young. But he is old enough to have seen his village prosper and decline many times. Farming had traditionally been small and distress migration rampant at Kumbharwadi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

The weather station at Randullabad that helps farmers plan their crops. (Photo by Manu Moudgil)
How sand mining impacts ecosystem
A lucrative business, sand mining from rivers done illegally and unscientifically is found to affect riverine ecology. Manu Moudgil posted 3 years 5 months ago

Sand is in high demand in the construction sector. By 2020, 1.4 billion tonnes of sand will be required in India. Sand mining is thus a lucrative business and fuels illegal extraction.

River sand is preferred for construction because it requires less processing. (Source: P Jeganathan/Wikimedia Commons)
Storms in India: Science of Severity
The world may see more freak storms due to rising temperatures. Reducing pollution and protecting forests are perfect preventive measures. Manu Moudgil posted 3 years 8 months ago

Around 127 people died and 300 others were injured during the severe dust and thunderstorms that shook north India on May 2. Winds touching a speed of 126 kilometres per hour brought down houses and uprooted trees, thus becoming the strongest storm in the last six years. What led to such a massive weather event?

Image for representation purpose only. Source: Pixabay
New hydrogel to help drought-hit crops
A hydrogel from cluster beans is found to increase soil moisture. It can help crops in times of drought. arathi posted 3 years 9 months ago

Scientists have developed a hydrogel from the gum of guar (cluster bean) that can increase soil moisture and help farmers save their crops in case of water scarcity. 

A new hydrogel comes as a boon to drought-hit crops. (Photo: IWP Flickr photos; photo for representation only)
Power play in Kinnaur
Villagers are making informed decisions when it comes to government projects that affect ecology. Equipped with legal knowledge, they are challenging damaging hydropower projects. Manu Moudgil posted 4 years 7 months ago

Lippa is a small village in the Kinnaur region in Himachal Pradesh, close to Asrang wildlife sanctuary. On May 27, the village witnessed hectic activity as the gram sabha was to decide the fate of a hydroelectricity project to be constructed near the village. The project demands the water from the Kerang stream be diverted for power.

People believe that tunnels such as these cause irreversible damages to the environment.
River health goes south
In a two-part series, we look at the health of rivers across India. Here's a comprehensive assessment of the condition of rivers in the south and the west. chicu posted 4 years 7 months ago

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, all located in the west of India, have rivers belonging to several different basins. With the exception of rivers in Rajasthan that drain into the Yamuna basin, the other rivers in these states either drain into the Bay of Bengal via the peninsular basins or run from the Western Ghats and into the Arabian sea.

These iconic falls at Athirapally are threatened by a hydroelectric project upstream. (Source: Arathi Kumar Rao)
How Punjab can deal with its hot potato
Despite favourable climatic conditions, the spud is a difficult crop to grow. Add to it the government’s indifference and market fluctuations, the potato kings of Punjab are having a tough time. Manu Moudgil posted 4 years 8 months ago

Till about two months ago, Punjab was all about potatoes and politics. A surplus production and market crash had farmers dumping their produce on the roads. At the same time, the results of the State Assembly elections were keenly awaited. While Punjab survived the prediction of a hung Assembly, the fate of farmers still hangs in balance.

More than potatoes, it's the seed that Punjab is famous for.
Project power plants fear
A 1,320 MW power plant near mangrove forests of Sundarbans may have irreversible consequences. Manu Moudgil posted 4 years 9 months ago

The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans are the biggest barriers against cyclones from the Bay of Bengal, saving both India and Bangladesh from irreparable damage.

The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans are the biggest barriers against cyclones from the Bay of Bengal. Source: Laskar Sarowar/Wikimedia Commons
Profit of loss: When growth harms the earth
Development projects from across India are flouting environmental norms, says a recent CAG audit report Manu Moudgil posted 4 years 9 months ago

At the Sainj Hydroelectric Power Project in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, muck dumping sites were inadequate and damaged resulting in the muck directly flowing into the river. Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project in Bihar had to install instruments to control air, water, noise and dust pollution, develop green belt and recycle treated effluent.

CAG found development projects not meeting conditions of environment clearances.
With nature for company
Merging traditional way of understanding weather with science and technology can not just improve the accuracy of weather forecast but augment adaptation to climate change also. Manu Moudgil posted 4 years 9 months ago

As bamboo trees bloomed with long wispy spikes, Loknath Nauri knew it would be a tough year. “More the density of the flowers, the more severe the drought we face,” he says. This was in March 2015 in the forests of southern Odisha. Around the same time, he saw black-hooded oriole building a nest with its mouth facing west.

Shape of clouds can be an important indicator of weather. Source: Robert Hensley/Wikimedia Commons
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