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Drought and Flood in Bundelkhand

  The 2004-2007 drought led to the drying up of all traditional tanks and ponds

Due to its geology and topography and the pattern of rainfall received, Bundelkhand is prone to both drought and flood.

In most parts of the entire region, an impermeable rocky layer is found at fairly shallow depths. Hence runoff of both rainwater and soil is high.

The problem is aggravated by erratic rainfall and thin forest cover in many districts.

Hence, drought or flood hits some or other part of Bundelkhand every few years.

The pattern and extent of drought and flood in a particular district over a period of 10 years is shown in the table below.

Natural calamities in Banda district (1966-1976)

Year Nature of calamity Tehsils most affected
1966-67 Drought Baberu, Karwi, Mau
1967-68 Excessive rains, flood Whole district except Naraini
1968-69 Drought Whole district
1969-70 Drought Whole district
1970-71 Excessive rains, flood Whole district except Naraini
1971-72 Excessive rains, then failure of rains and drought Whole district except Baberu and Naraini
1972-73 Drought Whole district
1973-74 Drought Whole district
1974-75 Excessive rains, then failure of rains and drought Whole district except Naraini
1975-76 Excessive rains, then failure of rains and drought Whole district

Source: District Gazetteer of Banda (1977), p 111

Information aggregated from district gazetteers by Bharatendu Prakash et al [ p. 145] shows that in the 70 years between 1905 and 1976,  drought or flood were recorded in some or all parts of Bundelkhand in 22 years, including many consecutive years.

There was a gap of more than four years only in 1935-1939, 1960-1964 and 1967-1974 when the major part of the region did not suffer drought or flood.

Severe famine hit the region in 1905-07, following which the population of Banda and Jalaun districts reduced to half, due to migration to other parts of UP. Severe floods were experienced in Banda in 1992.

Probably the longest and severest spell of poor rainfall recorded in Bundelkhand in was in 2004-2007, when below average and erratic rain was reported in most parts of the region in all the years.

According to a report prepared by a central government team under the chairmanship of Dr JS Samra, head of the National Rainfed Area Authority, following visits to Bundelkhand districts in December 2007 and April 2008, moderate to severe agricultural drought occurred for two to four years in all the 13 districts of the region.

Hydrological drought was evident from a decline of 15% to 47% in level of reservoirs in MP Bundelkhand, and 28% to 64% per cent decline in UP Bundelkhand reservoirs in 2005-2007.

The team noted that 70% of the region's tanks and ponds had dried up there was a steep fall in groundwater levels.

Net sown area in 2007-08 ranged from 15% to 80% of normal, with an average of 60%, and grain production declined by 22%.

While 15% to 20% of the labour migrate from Bundelkhand after wheat sowing operations, this figure was reported to be 40%  in 2007-08, the team noted.


  • Prakash Bharatendu, Satya Santosh, Ghosh N Shailendra, Chourasia LP, Problems and Potentials of Bundelkhand with Special Reference to Water Resource Base. Atarra (Banda), Centre for Rural Development and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), Vigyan Shiksha Kendra (Atarra): 1998

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