Droughts - Effects, Causes, Impact

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 11, 2022, 8:21

A Drought can be defined as an event when an area or territory receives persistent water scarcity over an extended period of time. Inappropriate precipitation that includes reduced downpours, as well as snowfall, can directly contribute to reduced streamflow and reduced soil moisture in a particular region, leading to a drought situation.

Man-made factors, as well as natural calamities, play a major role in causing drought in a place. The effects of droughts are life-threatening and have severe negative impacts on human and animal lives. The negative impacts can be both direct and indirect. The direct impacts refer to the crops' spoilage or the dying of crops. On the other hand, indirect impacts include the economic loss of dealers and other consequences.

Causes of Droughts

There are different factors that may lead to a drought situation. Rising temperatures are one of the most prominent causes, as this leads to elevated evaporation of moisture. As a result, the soil texture becomes dry. This affects the overall crop growth and life span. Besides that, the groundwater level drops, leading to terrible water scarcity. The elevated temperature of the earth also causes faster snowmelt, disturbing the natural precipitation pattern. This hugely interferes with the water level and leads to water shortages. Sometimes the population of a region grows rapidly, elevating the demand for water supply. If the water bodies, as well as the groundwater level, fail to meet the demand, the territory might experience drought conditions.

Impact of Droughts

Drought is a disaster whose effects build up over time and also have dire consequences, as mentioned below.

  • Agriculture: Enriched soil and water are the essentials to building a prolific agriculture system. If the soil loses its moisture and no water is available to water the plants, there will be a huge crop loss, leading farmers to be bankrupt. Besides that, if agriculture is affected, there could be a persistent food shortage, leading to a famine situation.
  • Drought can lead to a vulnerable ecosystem being destroyed, destroying the desirable life balances within it. When the water bodies are dried up and there is no sign of rainfall, the fishes will definitely die in huge numbers. This will lead to a major pest outbreak, violating the overall balance of the ecosystem.
  • Low economic growth: Every natural calamity leaves a deep impact on the economic aspect of a region. Drought also influences the overall economic scenario, leading to a tremendous loss in almost every sector. Whether it is the hotel industry or agriculture, every sector is experiencing a decline in monetary growth as a result of an impaired production situation.
  • Wildfires: The plants from the wild region become dry due to limited access to water during a drought. As a result, the dried plants may cause disastrous wildfires.

It can be concluded that the factors contributing to drought situations are mostly man-made, and we need to take effective measures to combat the deadly disaster. As the elevated temperature of the earth is one of the major factors in droughts, we need to concentrate on limiting the heat-trapping gases' production and also prevent them from getting emitted into the environment. Add to that, we need to constrain our water usage along with terminating the malpractice of water wastage. We also should focus on building advanced technologies to work in the agricultural sector that would require a lesser amount of water. Cultivating plants that require low levels of water for their growth might be beneficial too.

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FAQs on Droughts

Q.1. What are the impacts of droughts?

Droughts cause severe public health problems as it becomes challenging to get safe drinking water. As the air quality drops significantly, people might experience severe respiratory problems. Getting adequate nutrition can also be challenging.

Q.2. Can we assume the onset of droughts like before?

Although the complicated nature of the earth and its phenomena make it quite difficult to forecast a drought situation, it can be anticipated a month or sometimes a year in advance.

Q.3. Which region experiences droughts more often?

The south and midwest regions of the United States are most vulnerable to drought situations.

Q.4. Which state has experienced the worst droughts?

Texas has gone through the worst droughts. It lasted from 1950 to 1957.