Snow, rain recharge Valley’s water sources, farmers upbeat - Hindustan Times
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Snow, rain recharge Valley’s water sources, farmers upbeat

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
Feb 07, 2024 05:02 AM IST

Tourist resort of Gulmarg recorded over three feet of snow, and Pahalgam and Sonamarg also had good snow accumulation in last ten days when back to back Western Disturbances were active over Kashmir

The rainfall in Kashmir over the past week has given a new lease on life to the Valley’s fruit and agriculture and also recharged the depleting water table.

A tourist enjoys during snowfall at Patnitop in Udhampur on Tuesday. (ANI)
A tourist enjoys during snowfall at Patnitop in Udhampur on Tuesday. (ANI)

Tourist resort of Gulmarg recorded over three feet of snow, and Pahalgam and Sonamarg also had good snow accumulation in last ten days when back to back Western Disturbances were active over Kashmir. The upper ridges recorded have also seen snow accumulation of five to six feet.

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According to the local meteorological office, Srinagar recoded 27mm rain and 10.9 cm snow from January 27 to April 5. In the same time period, Pahalgam saw 58.4mm rain and 51.8cm snow, Kupwara had 55.2mm rain and 31 cm snow, Gulmarg saw 115.9mm rain and 102.1cm snow. Ganderbal, Baramulla and Bandipora recorded 41mm, 63 mm and 67 mm rain, respectively.

“The rural economy is dependent on horticulture and agriculture. Fruit trees require a particularly cool enviornment in December and January. The above-normal temperatures in January were dangerous for the fruit industry. From past 10 to 15 days, snow and rainfall have resulted in desirable temperatures for the fruit trees. I hope that this time, we don’t have early flowering in orchards, which plays spoilsport,” said Abdul Gaffar, a horticulture expert.

Jammu and Kashmir reeled under a prolonged dry spell amid harsh winter conditions, with barely any precipitation from December till January 29. Experts attributed the shift in weather pattern to climate change, scarce western disturbances and the El Nino phenomenon.

The local meteorological centre’s records suggest that the Union Territory received 13mm precipitation in December last year, much less than the average 60mm.

“The dry spell had resulted in depletion of many water sources, including the Jhelum river, which was flowing at record-low levels. After the rains, things have stabilised to some extent. There should be cycles of snow and rains in coming days,” said Baramulla resident Murtuza Ahmad.

Jalal Jeelani, an environmental expert, said that from couple of years, Kashmir is witnessing less snowfall and prolonged dry spell due to various environmental changes .

“For Kashmir, snow in winter and sufficient rains in spring are necessary for the fruit industry and its water table. Any change in weather pattern has direct impact on our fruit industry, agriculture and even tourism. For good fruit yield, we need sufficient snow in winters. I am hopeful that there will be more snow in coming days,” he said.

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