11 districts in Maharashtra highly vulnerable to extreme weather events: study

They account for almost 40% of the cropped area across central parts of the State, says report

Eleven of the 36 districts in Maharashtra are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, droughts and dwindling water security, and account for almost 40% of the cropped area across central Maharashtra, a report by agencies under the Central government has revealed.

The study is titled ‘Socio-economic vulnerability to climate change – Index development and mapping for districts in Maharashtra’. It was conducted by Chaitanya Adhav from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana, under the guidance of Dr. R. Sendhil from ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research.

The study revealed that Nandurbar in north Maharashtra is the most vulnerable district to cyclones, floods, droughts, changing rainfall patterns and extreme temperatures, affecting its crop production. The other 10 highly vulnerable districts include Buldhana, Beed, Jalna, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Parbhani, Nanded, Akola, Amravati and Washim.

According to the study, 37% of the State’s agricultural area spread over 14 districts is moderately vulnerable, which takes the tally to three-fourth of Maharashtra’s cropped regions as high to moderate vulnerable to the prevailing climate crisis. These include Dhule, Jalgaon, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Sangli, Solapur, Osmanabad, Latur, Yavatmal, Wardha, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli. However, the study did not include Mumbai and suburban districts in the analysis.

The dominant crops from these districts which will bear the brunt of climate change include jowar, rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, ragi, cashew nut, barley and millets. Nine districts — Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Nashik, Satara, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Nagpur and Pune — were found to be least vulnerable to climate agricultural distress.

Mr. Adhav said in order to quantify the climate change-induced risk, the socio-economic vulnerability index was calculated using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approach, considering the key climatic parameters such as exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of districts to climate vulnerability.

“Additionally, the policy-making process should include inputs from as many stakeholders as possible before implementation. Ultimately, the outcome of micro-level adaptation strategies should get reflected at the State level,” the author said.

The data was collected based on 44 indicators related to climatic as well as socio-economic variables, which were identified based on experts’ opinions.

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