Lakeside sits on the banks of Kamarajar lake near Madurai in Tamil Nadu (hence it’s name!)
After the north-east monsoon (November/December) the lake is full and looks wonderful. As the year progresses water is pumped out to provide drinking water for our nearby town of Dindigul. The level also drops because of evaporation.
As the level falls we continue to enjoy fantastic views. First little islands appear, then these are connected to the mainland by narrow strips of land. By this time of year there is enough ‘new’ land for local people to graze their sheep, goats, cattle and water buffalo on the sweet green grass that springs up as the water retreats. It’s a beautiful, mesmerising sight to see the animals grazing across the open spaces – a miniature Serengetti!
The south-west monsoon starts in June with most of the rain falling on the west coast of India. Kerala and the Western Ghats gets abundant rainfall, some of which finds its way down the eastern slopes of the mountains to our lake. We generally get some rain but not a great deal but it is good to see a small rise in the lake before it drops again with the continued pumping.
Not this year though. The south-west monsoon is delayed and weak, and across the country water levels in reservoirs is only 57% of what it was this time last year, down from 62% last week. (That’s an average, for us it is more like 90% so we are lucky). There are already reports of damage to crops in some parts of the country and some farmers are holding back on planting their rice seedlings until the rains come, which could affect food prices later in the year.
It’s a strange thing for an English person to say, but I’m praying for rain!