Agumbe may well lose its title as the Cherrapunji of South India. The village, nestled in the lush rainforest of the Western Ghats, has experienced low rainfall, successive droughts and its groundwater levels are marked by a drastic difference.

This tiny hamlet, located in the Shivamogga district, receives an average of 7,000 to 8,000mm of rainfall annually. But now, this has changed.

In 2016, Agumbe witnessed only 5,987.4mm of rainfall. This number, the lowest in 45 years has raised concern among scientists.

B Vaman Shenoy, a meteorologist who has spent the past four decades studying the weather pattern said, “I have been noticing the changes in the weather in Agumbe. Days in the summer are longer and winters are shorter. Since the early 1990s, average rainfall here has been steadily decreasing from 8,000 to 5,000mm,” reported The Times of India.

This overwhelming change in the weather pattern, with days longer in summer and shorter in winter, is due to the lack of rain. However, for many living in Agumbe, the effect of low rainfall is felt in their own backyards.

Traditional wells have dried up and this has affected the economy in many ways.

Ravikumar, a resident of this beautiful village, said he doesn’t advice tourists to stay at home stay. “When there is hardly enough water for our domestic needs, how can we entertain guests and travellers?” he asked. Similar sentiment was echoed by D Nagabhushan, a farmer who had to cancel a religious ceremony owing to the lack of water in the village.

While the residents of Agumbe find the quality of their life affected, scientists say that this trend points to a larger problem. The Western Ghats is losing its green cover and the government and residents of the village need to think of different ways to deal with it.

The government should begin reforestation while educating the residents about conserving water.

Agumbe isn’t just the Cherrapunji of the south, it is Karnataka’s pride in many ways. The village boasts of rich wildlife; its home to the King Cobra, and houses a host of endemic species. If the Western Ghats is experiencing deforestation, it’s not just the people who stand to lose, it’s also the wildlife.