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All about Drought

 

What is Drought?

It is an extended period of time when there is shortage of water availability with respect to atmospheric (below average precipitation), surface water or ground water. It can last for months or years.

source: worldatlas.com

 


Types of Drought

It is classified mainly into three types, they are as follows:

  1. Meteorological Drought :- It is a condition when there is a prolong period of inadequate precipitation. It usually precedes other kind of drought.

  2. Agricultural Drought :- It can be also called as Soil Moisture Drought, characterized by low soil moisture that is necessary to support crops. Due to which there is crop failure in the area affected by this drought. There are many reasons for this drought to occur such as erosion, and events that cause depletion in nutritious content of soil.

  3. Hydrological Drought :- It is a situation where availability of water in reserves like aquifiers, lakes and reservoirs falls below the level, which precipitation can replenish. This drought tends to show up more slowly.


Causes

There are many causes of drought, some are explained below:

  • Precipation Deficiency :- Precipation can be of three types, they are ice, liquid water and water that freezes on contact. Low level precipation can lead to drought. It mainly occurs in region where normal level of rainfall is low.

  • Dry Season :- Dry season causes drying of rivers, lakes and other water bodies due to which it increases drought occurences.

  • Human Activities :- The ability of land to capture and hold water reduces due to overfarming, excessive irragation, deforestation and erosion. As water holding capacity of land is reduced there is depletion in ground water levels which further affects vegetation.


Can First Rainfall break the drought?

As mentioned above drought is a situation where there is shortage of water for an extended period of time, So First rain cannot break the drought but it is capable of providing temporary relief. A light or moderate rainfall can reduce temperature and provide cooling while the rain will be quickly evaporated or used by plants as it seeps into soil, which will provide more relief. Soaking of rain in land is best against drought as it increases ground water due to which plants can grow properly; It also feeds streams i.e. provides water to lakes, rivers, etc.


Consequences

There are many consequences some are mentioned below:

  • Famine :- Drought destroys food sources, as it has less water to support plants, crops, fodder crops, etc. Due to which animals, cattles, poultry cannot have enough food to eat. Even human beings has less food available. When this condition continues for long time period then it may lead to famines.

  • Decrease in drinking water :- Most of natural and man-made reserves dry up or has very less water to quench thirst of living beings. At this times many animals and birds either die or migrate to some other places.


Measures

  • Dams :- additional water can be supplied at time of drought with help of dams.

  • Desalination :- sea water can be used for irrigation or consumption.

  • Inter-connectivity of water bodies can help reduce severity of drought. For example if there is a drought like situation then water from other bodies can be provided to that region so that upto some extent water needs can be fulfilled.

  • Drought severity can be reduced by rainwater harvesting on individual basis.

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