Anantapur is a major drought prone district in the rain shadow area of Andhra Pradesh. In this district, climate plays a major role in deciding the lives of people. According to a report given by the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University (ANGRAU), of the 63 mandals in the district, 3 mandals were completely drought hit and an arid zone for the last 25 years, 20-25 years of arid climate was noticed in 41 mandals, 18-20 years of arid climate in 18 mandals and the lowest number of arid years (15) were observed in Penukonda mandal. In the last three decades, scientists have noticed that the region has witnessed increased dry spell, erratic rainfall, and 80% reduction in the soil’s water retention capacity.
The development works of the Handri-Neeva canal by the Government have increased irrigation area in the kharif season by 40%. Farmers started using the canal-irrigated area for horticulture crops such as orange, grapes and banana. These horticultural crops require a higher amount of water compared to the normal crops, which resulted in higher depletion of groundwater levels.
To improve the lives of people in Anantapur, the Government needs to concentrate on contingency crop planning and give necessary subsidies on the crops that require lesser amounts of water to grow, crops that would save soil erosion, and enrich soil quality, and the ones that are profitable for farmers. Drought preparedness plans must be designed and citizens need to be sensitized on the issues and solutions.