Cloud seeding likely to cause marginal rainfall

Cloud seeding in Cauvery, Kabini and Hemavathi basins from October 17 may result in “marginal” improvement in rainfall, depending on the effectiveness of the North-East monsoon, said Wing Commander G S R Sharma.

The chief meteorologist of Agni Aero Sports Adventure Academy Private Limited (AASAA) has been awarded  Rs five crore for the project by the Karnataka government. As it is being taken up in the second monsoon, the result is limited both in terms of area and rainfall amount, he said.

Addressing a press meet here on Saturday along with Captain and Chief Pilot Arvind Sharma, he said that ideally cloud seeding should have been taken up during the South West monsoon. As during that period clouds could have been  targeted suitably across the State, including north Karnataka districts. The influence of the North East monsoon, the second monsoon, is restricted only to Cauvery basin, he said.

“The impact of cloud seeding will be marginal if the monsoon turns out to be bad. But if it is a relatively good one, then the results will be reasonable. The exercise adds 20 per cent to the total rainfall,” he said noted that the State government wasted precious time in water management techniques. It failed to take up cloud seeding although tender was floated three months ago. In the first round, a bidder quoted Rs 10 crore, when the project cost was Rs five crore. It was during the second round that AASAA participated and quoted Rs 4.37 crore, he said. 

On October 10, an agreement was inked between the AASAA and the Irrigation department, for 30 days. The process began on October 17 after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation gave its nod, Sharma said and added that the twin engine pressurised turbine aircraft that has been airborne for seven out of 15 days has resulted in some rainfall.

“Though there has been some rainfall in Mysore and its surrounding regions, the details could not be ascertained due to holidays. We are dependent on the government for the rainfall data. Rainfall occurs within 15 minutes of cloud seeding,” he said. The AASAA is functioning from the Mandakalli airport in Mysore. It is associated with the Karnataka Engineering Research Station at Krishnaraja Sagar dam. The first report will be submitted to the government on Monday. The impact, however, can be assessed after a month.

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