Whose Drought is it Anyway? Understanding Climate Impacts in Semi-Arid Farming Societies of Maharashtra, India

Program Contact

Atreyee Bhattacharya



Globally, regions experiencing pronounced impacts of 21st century anthropogenic warming are also those experiencing economic stress and social upheavals. Particularly vulnerable are agricultural societies in semi-arid regions (SARs) of emerging economies; several of such SARs societies have a colonial history and consequently, inherited colonial socioeconomic structures and practices. Over the past few decades, SARs in peninsular India, especially those in the state of Maharashtra, are marked by significant variability in temperature and precipitation. The Maharashtrian SARs have been experiencing frequent meteorological droughts; the magnitudes and spatial extent of these droughts have increased due to accelerating climate change. Combined with rapid population growth, expansion of water intensive cash crop agriculture and urban development, these droughts have emerged as major climatological stressors that have led to large-scale socioeconomic and human impacts, such as, crop failures, rural-urban migration and farmer suicides.

The objective for us— an interdisciplinary team of scientists and practitioners— is to engage with different members (representing different caste, age and gender) of farming communities in four of the most drought prone districts of Maharashra (Marathawada, Solapur, Beed and Vidarbha) to  understand how different members of communities think (especially in terms of risks and resilience) of the recurring droughts and other climate impacts (e.g. forest cover, soil quality, water quality, growing and harvesting seasons etc).

Our goal  is to add a strong community-engaged dimension to our ongoing reserach in the region that seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of the return period, causes impacts, risks and resilience of agricultural communities to droughts – especially dry conditions that persist for several years or even decades.



  • Field work


    Outside Us

    Maharashtra, India


    5/10/2021 - 5/14/2021

    Public or Private

    Private Program (by request only or for a specific audience or group)

    Program Fee

    Not Applicable

Sponsoring Units

  • College of Arts & Sciences

  • Center for Asian Studies
  • College of Engineering & Applied Science

Program Partners

  • Center for Asian Studies (CAS), University of Colorado Boulder
  • Debarun Dutta, Drishti Media, Ahmedabad, India
  • Gaurav Arora, IIIT- New Delhi, India
  • Gayathri Natu, IIT-Bombay, Mumbai, India
  • Pandurang Sabale, Deccan College, India
  • Anoop Ambili, IISER-Mohali, India
  • Praveen Mishra, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, India
  • Jill Leonard-Pingel, Ohio State University-Newark
  • Sudipto Sarkar, IISER-Pune

Audiences Served

  • At-Risk Youth
  • Business
  • Children & Youth (outside school)
  • Families
  • General Public
  • Government
  • Media
  • Minority Group(s)
  • Non-Profit Organization
  • Rural Communities
  • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged