In India the extraordinary heatwave continues – with implications on water supplies, energy production, and crop yields which have the potential to shake more than just India. People are speaking of a ‘spring-less year” – from winter straight to summer.
It’s not the high temperature itself which is surprising – but that it’s this hot 1-2 months too early. And now we’re slowly seeing it’s impact:
Dam levels are falling faster than expected, and water shortages are already being felt with people skipping work to wait for water tankers or collect water.
The heat is causing the glaciers in the north of the country to melt at an unprecedented rate, putting thousands at risk of being caught in flash floods caused by glacial lake outbursts (GLOF)
Wheat yields dropped by up to 50% in areas worst hit by the extreme temperatures, and particularly in the state of Punjab, India’s breadbasket.
A lower wheat harvest could also have global implications as we’re also facing shortages due to the Ukraine-Russia war this year.
Power shortages are the worst in six decades, caused by increased demand for cooling. Coal fired power plants also require a lot of water – putting additional pressure on dwindling water supplies.
Sustainable water management is now becoming more important than ever, and hopefully the implications from this heatwave will lead to more target actions.