GUWAHATI, Feb 25 - Noted water engineering expert and BP Chaliha Chair Professor for Water Resources in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati, Prof Arup Kumar Sarma has underlined the need of undertaking a study to assess the contribution of tea estates towards carbon appropriation.
Though not explicitly accounted, the carbon credit earned by the greenery of the tea gardens is probably good enough to compensate for the carbon emission from their respective factories. But a formal study is needed to asses the exact contribution of the tea estates in this regard, he said.
He also warned that in the coming days farming and plantation activities may face increased flood and long drought conditions under the impact of the climate change phenomenon.
Prof Sarma was talking to this newspaper on the issues relating to the looming erratic weather conditions under the impact of climate change and the tea industry. Recently, he delivered a lecture on the issue at the 126th annual general meeting of the Assam Branch of the Indian Tea Association (ABITA).
He said that a climate change study carried out by a team of IIT-Guwahati researchers under him found that monsoon precipitation may increase up to 10 to 20 per cent in the coming days, while there is also the probability of lengthening of the dry period during the lean season. Thus, in the future, agriculture may undergo both flooding and drought.
The climate change model of this team also showed late arrival of monsoon. With the rise in rainfall intensity, the threat of severe river bank erosion and catchment erosion are also apprehended under the impact of the climate change phenomenon, he said.
Therefore, planning of tea crops will have to be more resilient considering all these impacts. Harvesting of water into a farm pond and irrigating the field with a smart irrigation system, that too with a provision of recirculation of harvested water, can mitigate water crisis. Such farm ponds can also help in maintaining a favourable micro climate for tea crops.
Moreover, properly designed protection measures can help in preventing failure of river banks. Presently, soft measures using vegetation for protecting river bank are gaining popularity due to their eco-friendly nature and the added advantage of using local materials. IIT-Guwahati has worked in this line as well, he said.