At this time when the earth is heating up above normal, it is increasingly common to speak of drought in those places where the rain is very little or directly scarce or has even stopped appearing. Although it is more frequent in certain places, drought is one of the environmental problems that can affect us all.
In this AgroCorrn article, we tell you in detail what drought is, its causes and consequences , as well as some ideas that we can implement to prevent the problem from getting worse.
- What is drought and which countries suffer the most
- What kinds of drought are there
- Main causes of drought
- Consequences of drought
- Possible solutions for drought
What is drought and which countries suffer the most
Drought is a prolonged period in which a region does not receive enough water to supply the needs of the plants and animals that inhabit that area, including humans. Although the period of time is relative, for example in the desert of Botswana, a drought is considered to be an absence of rain for more than seven years, while in France or the United Kingdom, it only takes two months to consider it.
The main reason why a region can suffer a period of drought is the lack of rainfall in the area, although there are others, as we will see later in this article. In addition, the absence of water has serious consequences for, for example, crops or livestock on these lands, as we will also see below.
The countries most affected by the drought are those in the Horn of Africa , but also those in the Mediterranean Region and the countries near the Equator.
What kinds of drought are there
Although not everyone knows it, there are several different types of drought that can occur:
- Meteorological drought : this type of drought is due to the absence or scarcity of rainfall during a certain period.
- Agricultural drought : This type of drought affects crops the most. It may be due to an absence of rain or poorly planned agricultural activity.
- Hydrological drought : this type of drought occurs when the water reserves in the area are below average. It may be due to lack of rain or inadequate human activity.
Main causes of drought
Thus, among the main reasons for prolonged periods without rainfall and / or water reserves in some part of the planet, we can highlight the following causes of drought :
- Absence or scarcity of rain , especially during the corresponding seasons, so water is scarce.
- The climatic cycles both oceanic and atmospheric, such as the El Niño phenomenon in America of the South, who do you have each year drought periods in America and Australia or oscillations in the North Atlantic, leading droughts in northeastern Spain.
- Human activities such as overexploitation of agricultural land , excessive irrigation or deforestation , promote erosion and negatively affect the soil’s ability to store and retain water. These effects are triggered mainly at the local level.
- Activities that promote climate change and global overheating , both human and natural activities. This will cause increased rainfall with floods in certain places and periods of drought and warming, in others. They are, therefore, effects on a global level.
- The use in agriculture of toxic products such as ammonia increases the risk of desertification.
- Irregular periods of rainfall.
Consequences of drought
When we talk about the importance of water for the planet and human beings , we can translate it as essential for life. Therefore, the consequences of droughts on the planet are negative and, in certain cases, even devastating.
- Loss of agricultural production and land for livestock, with the consequent loss of income and food. In addition, as there is little production of certain foods, they rise in price due to the law of supply and demand.
- Malnutrition, dehydration and diseases.
- Famine due to food shortages.
- Migration of human beings and animal species.
- Damage to the habitat.
- Loss of biodiversity or what is the same, the reduction and even extinction of plant and animal species.
- Dust storms, due to desertification and erosion.
- Global instability, which can lead to conflicts and wars over natural resources.
- Less food supply in the market.
Possible solutions for drought
Fortunately, there are some possible solutions to droughts that can help us mitigate their effects and even avoid them in certain areas.
- Construction of dams and reservoirs to store water and release it when necessary.
- Monitoring droughts: measuring rainfall levels and comparing them to water use can help you take steps to avoid droughts.
- Land use: such as crop rotation to reduce erosion or, during drier periods, plant crops with less water demand.
- Capture rainwater: collect and store water in areas adapted for it, such as roofs.
- Construction of water transfers: such as aqueducts, canals or redirection of rivers to irrigate and supply water prone to drought.
- Reuse of recycled or waste water.
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