Mawsynram, which is situated in Meghalaya, holds the Guinness world record for the highest average annual rainfall which is around 476 inches/year. The second highest rainfall is met by Cherrapunji which is also situated in Meghalaya near the former place and has around 450 inches of rain per year.
The irony lies in the fact that these places also go through a water crisis in their dry seasons. That is after their monsoon season are over Mawsynram and Cherrapunji (also called ‘Sohra’ locally) along with surrounding villages go through a acute water crisis. This seems unlikely but the residents of those places have shed light on how this situation was not there before and it is the onset of the 21’st century that has brought about such a situation.
They say the problem is that there has been a reduction of forest cover in the area which has led to the top surface soil getting eroded which is unable to hold the flowing water. It is thus flowing down to the neighbouring country Bangladesh. There have been reports of illegal mining taking place in the region which is destabilizing its ecology. Apart from these as there used to be no shortage of water previously, the residents have not installed proper rainwater harvesting tools in their houses. Sohra is starting come out of the situation due to increased tourism in the area but it is not adequate for the whole surrounding area.
The people there have shared their experiences as to how the rain their during peak monsoon season goes on for days without break and they have sound lag of the falling rain even after it’s over. Such contrast is then seen to be there in this region.
The main agenda thus comes upon the state and regional government to equip the areas with rainwater harvested water reservoirs initially and also deal with the illegal mining taking place. The forest cover needs to be increased for holding onto water and other ecological factors which can be only possible with joint private-public action and increased government involvement.