Kalahandi – Understanding The Causes And Effects Of Drought In Orissa


Written By Avinash Sharan

22nd April 2023

A Disaster Management Project On Kalahandi Drought In Orissa

The Kalahandi district in the state of Orissa, India, is prone to recurring droughts, which pose a significant threat to the well-being and livelihoods of its population. In response, a disaster management project on Kalahandi aims at mitigating the impact of droughts and enhancing community resilience is initiated. The project on Kalahandi in Orissa aims to assess the causes and effects of drought, develop early warning systems, implement preparedness and contingency plans, and promote sustainable agricultural practices. The project on Kalahandi in Orissa also seeks to provide relief and support to communities affected by droughts and collaborate with local NGOs and government agencies to enhance drought management efforts.

How to design a cover page to reflect the topic “Kalahandi Drought” in Orissa

  • The cover page of a report or project on Kalahandi Drought in Orissa can be designed to reflect the severity and impact of the issue.
  • The cover page could feature a photograph or an illustration of the arid and dry landscape of Kalahandi during a drought, with cracked earth, wilted crops, and parched rivers.
  • The title of the report or project can be highlighted prominently in bold letters, with a subtitle that explains the purpose of the project.
  • The use of colors like brown, yellow, and orange can evoke the dryness and aridity of the region.
  • The inclusion of a logo or emblem of the project can also be added to the cover page to signify the project’s significance and importance.
  • Overall, the cover page design should aim to capture the essence of the topic and highlight its urgency and relevance.


Kalahandi, a district in the state of Orissa, India, has been repeatedly affected by droughts, which have significant implications for the well-being and livelihoods of its population. Drought is a natural disaster characterized by the scarcity of water resources, resulting in a severe shortage of food, water, and livelihood opportunities. In Kalahandi, droughts have caused significant damage to agricultural crops, livestock, and natural resources, leading to food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty.

The causes of drought in Kalahandi are complex and multifaceted, with factors such as climate change, deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and poor water management exacerbating the issue. The impacts of drought are felt disproportionately by vulnerable populations such as smallholder farmers, women, children, and marginalized communities.

Efforts to address the issue of drought in Kalahandi have been ongoing, with the government and civil society organizations implementing various strategies and interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of drought and enhancing community resilience. These strategies include the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, the construction of check dams, water harvesting structures, and the provision of relief and support to affected communities.

However, despite these efforts, drought remains a pressing issue in Kalahandi, with the potential to cause long-term damage to the environment, economy, and social well-being of the region. Hence, there is a need for a coordinated and sustained approach to drought management that involves all stakeholders, including government, civil society organizations, and communities. Such an approach must be guided by a commitment to sustainability, equity, and inclusivity, with a focus on building community resilience and enhancing their ability to cope with and recover from droughts.

Major Causes Of Drought In Kalahandi – Orissa

There are several causes of drought in Kalahandi, Orissa, some of which are natural, while others are human-induced.

Here are five major causes of drought in Kalahandi:

Irregular rainfall:

Kalahandi experiences erratic rainfall patterns, with the monsoon season being the primary source of precipitation.

When the monsoon fails or is delayed, it can result in a drought.

Climate change:

Climate change is affecting the rainfall patterns in Kalahandi, leading to prolonged dry spells and more frequent droughts.


Rampant deforestation in Kalahandi has disrupted the local water cycle and reduced the area’s water-holding capacity, leading to water scarcity and


Unsustainable agricultural practices:

The use of chemical fertilizers, monoculture farming, and other unsustainable agricultural practices have degraded the soil’s health, reduced its water

retention capacity, and increased the risk of droughts.

Poor water management:

Poor water management practices, such as over-extraction of groundwater, inefficient irrigation systems, and inadequate water storage facilities, have

contributed to water scarcity and droughts in Kalahandi.

Effects Of Drought In Kalahandi – Orissa

Droughts in Kalahandi, Orissa, can have a range of significant effects on the environment, economy, and social well-being of the region.

Here are five major effects of drought in Kalahandi:

Crop failure:

Droughts can cause significant damage to agricultural crops, resulting in crop failures and reduced yields, leading to food insecurity, malnutrition, and


Water scarcity:

Droughts can lead to water scarcity, with rivers and wells drying up, reducing access to drinking water, and affecting livestock and irrigation needs.

Economic losses:

Droughts can cause significant economic losses in Kalahandi, affecting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, rural communities, and micro-enterprises,

leading to job losses, reduced income, and debt.


Droughts can cause migration of people, particularly from rural to urban areas, in search of livelihood opportunities, putting a strain on the urban

infrastructure and services.

Health impacts:

Droughts can lead to health impacts, including increased incidence of water-borne diseases, malnutrition, and mental health issues, affecting the overall

well-being of the population.

Developing Early Warning Systems In Kalahandi – Orissa

Developing early warning systems in Kalahandi’s drought-prone region is crucial for mitigating the impact of droughts and reducing vulnerability.

Here are some steps that can be taken to develop an effective early warning system:

Conduct a risk assessment:

Assessing the risk of drought is the first step in developing an early warning system.

This involves analyzing the climate and environmental conditions, agricultural practices, and socio-economic factors that contribute to drought


Collect and analyze data:

Data on weather patterns, soil moisture, groundwater levels, and agricultural production can provide valuable insights into the onset and severity of


This data can be collected using remote sensing technologies, meteorological stations, and field surveys.

Establish thresholds and triggers:

Thresholds and triggers can be established based on historical data to determine when to issue early warnings.

For example, if rainfall levels fall below a certain threshold, an early warning can be triggered.

Develop a communication strategy:

A communication strategy is essential for ensuring that the early warning system reaches the target population.

This strategy can include various communication channels, such as radio broadcasts, SMS alerts, and community meetings.

Build capacity:

Building the capacity of local communities, farmers, and government officials is crucial for the success of an early warning system.

This can involve training on drought-resistant farming practices, water conservation, and emergency response procedures.

Continuously evaluate and improve the system:

Regular monitoring and evaluation of the early warning system can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that it remains effective in mitigating

the impact of droughts.

Therefore, by taking these steps,

an effective early warning system can be developed in Kalahandi’s drought-prone region, enabling communities to prepare for and respond to droughts

more effectively.

Preparedness and Contingency Plans

Some general guidelines for developing preparedness and contingency plans for drought-prone areas in Kalahandi, Odisha.

Early Warning Systems:

Establish a robust early warning system that can identify drought conditions in the region.

This system should monitor rainfall, temperature, and water levels in the rivers, and issue alerts when conditions indicate an impending drought.

Water Conservation:

Encourage water conservation practices in the region.

This can be done by promoting the use of low-water-usage crops, reducing water wastage in agriculture, and encouraging the use of rainwater harvesting


Community Engagement:

Involve the local community in the planning process.

Engage with farmers and other stakeholders in the region to identify their needs and concerns, and to develop strategies to address them.

Food Security:

Ensure that food supplies are available in the region during droughts.

This can be achieved by establishing food banks or food storage facilities, and by implementing food assistance programs.

Health and Sanitation:

Drought conditions can often lead to health and sanitation issues.

Develop plans to address these issues, including access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and the provision of medical supplies and services.

Infrastructure Development:

Invest in infrastructure that can help mitigate the impact of drought conditions.

This can include the construction of dams, irrigation systems, and water storage facilities.

Contingency Plans:

Develop contingency plans that can be implemented in the event of a drought.

These plans should include measures such as water rationing, emergency food supplies, and assistance for vulnerable populations.

Overall, preparedness and contingency plans for drought-prone areas in Kalahandi should be designed to address the specific needs of the local


It is important to involve the community in the planning process to ensure that the plans are effective and sustainable.

Promote Sustainable Agricultural Practices

five ways to promote sustainable agricultural practices in drought-prone areas like Kalahandi:

Promote the use of drought-resistant crops:

Encourage farmers to plant drought-resistant crops that require less water and can tolerate dry conditions.

This can include crops like millets, sorghum, and pulses that are well adapted to the local climate and can provide a reliable source of food and income.

Implement water-saving techniques:

Encourage farmers to adopt water-saving techniques like drip irrigation, mulching, and crop rotation.

These practices can help conserve water, improve soil health, and increase crop yields.

Encourage agroforestry:

Encourage farmers to incorporate trees and shrubs into their agricultural practices.

Trees can help reduce soil erosion, improve soil fertility, and provide shade to crops, reducing water loss through evaporation.

Promote organic farming practices:

Encourage farmers to adopt organic farming practices that reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Organic farming practices can help improve soil health, reduce water pollution, and promote biodiversity.

Provide access to agricultural training and resources:

Provide farmers with access to agricultural training programs and resources that promote sustainable farming practices.

This can include training on soil health, water conservation, and crop management techniques, as well as access to tools and resources like seeds,

fertilizer, and equipment.

By promoting sustainable agricultural practices in drought-prone areas like Kalahandi, we can help farmers adapt to changing weather patterns, conserve

natural resources, and build resilient agricultural systems.

Role of NGOs and government agencies to enhance drought management efforts

NGOs and government agencies can play a crucial role in enhancing drought management efforts in Kalahandi drought-prone area by working together to

implement effective strategies.

Here are some ways in which NGOs and government agencies can work together to address drought management:

Collaborate to develop drought management plans:

NGOs and government agencies can work together to develop comprehensive drought management plans that take into account the needs of local

communities, the resources available, and the potential risks associated with drought.

Implement early warning systems:

NGOs and government agencies can work together to establish early warning systems to detect drought conditions in advance.

This can help farmers and other stakeholders prepare for drought conditions and take appropriate action.

Provide training and support:

NGOs can provide training and support to farmers and other stakeholders to help them adopt sustainable farming practices, such as crop diversification

and water conservation.

Government agencies can provide financial and technical support to help farmers implement these practices.

Build water harvesting and storage infrastructure:

NGOs and government agencies can collaborate to build water harvesting and storage infrastructure, such as small dams, check dams, and ponds, to

collect and store rainwater.

This can provide a reliable source of water for farmers during drought conditions.

Implement food security programs:

NGOs and government agencies can work together to implement food security programs, such as food banks and food assistance programs, to ensure

that vulnerable populations have access to food during drought conditions.

Monitor and evaluate drought management efforts:

NGOs and government agencies can work together to monitor and evaluate drought management efforts to ensure that they are effective and sustainable.

This can help identify areas for improvement and guide future drought management strategies.

In summary, NGOs and government agencies can collaborate to enhance drought management efforts in Kalahandi drought-prone area by developing comprehensive drought management plans, implementing early warning systems, providing training and support, building water harvesting and storage infrastructure, implementing food security programs, and monitoring and evaluating drought management efforts.


The Kalahandi drought in Orissa was a severe disaster that affected the region’s economy, environment, and society. A disaster management project was implemented to mitigate the impact of the drought and provide relief to the affected people.

The project aimed to improve water availability and ensure food security in the region. It involved the construction of check dams, water harvesting structures, and the promotion of sustainable agriculture practices. Additionally, the project provided livelihood support to the affected communities through skill development and income-generating activities.

The project’s efforts resulted in an increase in water availability and improved agricultural productivity. The livelihood support provided to the affected communities helped them cope with the economic impact of the drought. However, there is still room for improvement in terms of sustainable water management practices and strengthening disaster preparedness measures.

In conclusion, the disaster management project on Kalahandi drought in Orissa was a significant step towards mitigating the impact of disasters and building resilience in the affected communities. It serves as an example of effective disaster management practices that can be implemented in similar regions to ensure sustainable development.

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