Drought Information and Management System

Drought Information and Management System



At a time when rains and floods continue to batter several parts of the country, it would seem misplaced to bring out an issue on Drought monitoring and mitigation. However, it is neither too early nor too late to become aware of technologies and processes that can ameliorate the lives of a large and very vulnerable populace who are often at the mercy of the State to get its act together.

Furthermore, technologies are evolving continuously and the administrators would be informed of the new technologies and methodologies that are available to them now and in the near future to enable them to deal with such a sensitive issue in a timely and effective manner.

Droughts are a continuing phenomenon. The Government of India, taking cognizance of the problem, has brought out and updated a ‘Manual for Drought Management’ for the management of this vexatious problem. The effectiveness of the procedure laid down in the manual for drought and its mitigation will be borne out by relief that the distraught farmer would receive at a critical juncture of his life.

However, the sheer number of Ministries, Departments, Cells and personnel, both at the National and State level, that are involved in the process of drought estimation will make it difficult for any timely action to be taken for the benefit of the individual farmer who has been adversely affected and is crying for relief and rehabilitation that he requires here and now. The procedure for the declaration of drought is too long and again involves several agencies, departments, cells and personnel, both at the National and State level. In the mean time, while all the bureaucratic processes are ongoing, the individual farmer bears the brunt of the calamity.

The advantage in the preparation and updation of the ‘Manual for Drought Management’ is that now standards, indices, parameters and yardsticks have been established. The need of the hour is to create a ‘Drought Information and Management System’ that houses all the relevant data to effectively address the issue of drought monitoring and mitigation as given in the manual as well as all data related to a farmer. Thereafter, using the latest data gathering geospatial technologies, mapping, image & data analysis techniques and information and communication systems, the administrators can arrive at the best processes to effectively and efficiently reduce loss of life & livestock as well as provide relief & rehabilitation on a near or long term basis.

Currently, GPS based positioning is imbedded in smart phones. Images of the effect of drought can be taken using these smart phones wherein the coordinates of the place at which the image has been taken is embedded along with the image. Thousands upon thousands of such images taken by individual farmers can be loaded into the ‘Drought Information and Management System’. Using image & data analysis techniques these images can be used to gauge the extent, severity and impact of the drought. Checks and balance are necessary to validate the outcome by using drone technologies to gather images of sample areas. Thereafter, information and communication systems can be deployed to provide cash transfers, grain, fodder, livelihood as well as relief and rehabilitation.

Such a system would be more efficient, responsive, be independent of human intervention and be more reliable to provide timely assistance to the affected farmer, his cattle and his livelihood. A dynamic system needs to be established which can be upgraded to use the latest Geospatial technologies, image & data analysis techniques and information and communication systems for Drought monitoring and mitigation.

The September 2019 edition of the magazine feature articles on the implementation and role of geospatial technologies in the Drought Monitoring and Drought Mitigation.


GIS-Resources-Magazine-Issue3-September2019-DROUGHT MONITORING AND MITIGATION



Categories: Editor's Note

About Author

Ashok Prim

Editor, Director (Retd), Survey of India, India

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