Drought has many meanings. In simple terms, it is the absence of water for a long period of time which causes the lack of water supply and the land to dry. Its definition also depends on individuals or group of people. To farmers, it is a period of moisture deficiency, lacking the amount of liquid sustaining the crops under cultivation. To meteorologists, the one who study atmosphere and weather, it is a prolonged period when precipitation or the amount of water falls to the ground is less than normal. To most of us, it is the period of water shortage, which, as we all know, water is a basic necessity in our everyday life.
CAUSES OF DROUGHT
There are a lot of causes of drought. According to eschooltoday.com, some of its causes are Lack of Rainfall, Surface Water Flow and Global Warming.
- Lack of Rainfall – Drought happens when there is less or no precipitation for a long period of time that causes the shortage of water supply. But remember, not only because there is less or no precipitation is already considered drought. There are some regions experiencing less precipitation but still manage to have enough water supply.
- Surface Water Flow – Some regions are dependent on surface water (stream and water) where they get amount of water to sustain their needs. If this surface water dries out, water supply is negatively affected. That’s why there are irrigation systems to limit the amount of water flowing to other areas downstream.
- Globa Warming – People play big role in causing drought. Deforestation or cutting of trees is one of the factors contributing to the drier condition. Polluting water is another one that causes drought. If we keep our rivers and lakes polluted of throwned garbages or other chemical wastes, water-related problems will occur. We would experience rise in temperature and lack of clean water for our needs which brought by human activities. Global warming occurs. Drought happens next.
IMPACT OF DROUGHT
If drought happens, farmers are greatly affected. Dry land can cause them nothing to harvest or lack of livestock on animals unless they spend much money to irrigate the crops and provide water supply to their ranch. Pest infestation occurs. Some farm workers have to take pay cuts or some may have to laid off. Stock in market will be decreased. It can also destroy farms and forests because of too much heat. Businessmen selling farm equipement lose money because the demand of it decreases. Hydro-electric companies operation can be affected also. People and their livelihood depending on the electricity produced by hydro-electric companies either spend more money to use electric generator or to close the production. Businesses connected to water recreation (beaches, lake side activities etc), may close down because of low water levels and dried out of water bodies. The livelihood of the people depending on it is also affected.
HOW TO PREVENT DROUGHT?
As human beings, we need water in order to survive. Physically,we need water to maintain processes in our body. Water is also needed by the food we eat – from animals to plants. It is also important in maintaining the cycle of nature. If drought happens, the world would not be safe for all of us. To prevent this from happening, we need to educate everyone about drought – how it occurs and how it affects our lives. This way,we are aware of the consequences of drought and we can think of a solution that can help us lessen or prevent it from happening. As individuals, we have responsiblities in this world, to help preserve the nature and not to destroy them. We know that cutting trees contribute greatly of occurrence in natural disasters therefore, we should stop this bad behavior towards the environment. We should also stop polluting the water because when the time comes, we can depend on them for drinking and irrigation until things improve. If this will be contaminated and unsafe to any kind of use, it makes the problem even more stressing. Importantly, we should conserve water. Eventhough there is enough water supply now, we should be better prepared to face the impact in case there is a shortage.
Drought means (2014). What is a drought? Retrieved January 11, 2016 from http://eschooltoday.com/natural-disasters/droughts/what-is-a-drought.html
U.S Geological Survey (2016). Questions and answers about drought. Retrieved January 11, 2016 from https://water.usgs.gov/edu/qadroughts.html
Wicker, C. (2003). Drought. Retrieved January 12, 2016 from http://www.weatherwizkids.com/?page_id=89