The first ever drought recorded was the 1890’s drought, which occurred during 1890 and 1896. A drought is a long period of time where the quantity of rainfall is exceptionally low. There are multiple types of droughts, but the most common type is the hydrological drought, which is when there is a decrease in surface and ground water. Droughts can have an impact both environmentally and economically.
One of the biggest causes of droughts is human cause. Deforestation plays a big role because with there being less trees, there is an increased chance for evaporation, it influences the occurrence of dry conditions, and desertification occurs. Desertification is when the soil becomes too dry and loses its ability to hold water. Both construction and agriculture also have a part in this event. When there is a lot of construction happening in an area or the area is being used for farming, there is an overall reduction of water supply. A result of this lack of water supply is a drastic increase in wildfires and extreme dry spells. In addition to human causes global warming can also create a drought. When there is an increase in greenhouse gasses there is an increase in average temperatures resulting in an increase of evapotranspiration levels. Over the years, the soil seems to get increasingly arid and cracked making it harder for farmers to make profit off of crops.
Environmentally droughts have a huge impact on not only the Earth itself, but wildlife as well. In the occurrence of a drought, there is a lack of drinking water for neighboring wildlife, which could possibly result in migration, leading animals to a territory with an increased amount of predators. Due to there being a lack of surface water aquatic wildlife loses their habitat and subsequently being to die off. As this paper stated earlier, droughts cause a decrease in surface and ground water, which leads to a reduction in streamflow. The longer a drought is in progress, the worse the remaining water quality gets. Resulting in an increase of concentration levels in chemicals and impurities due to run-off, that has been sitting in the water for an extensive amount of time. Furthermore, an outbreak of waterborne diseases, such as typhoid and cholera, can occur and contaminate people’s water systems. Sadly, vegetation is also a victim to this horrid dry spell. Desertification causes an increase in vegetation and tree death, because the soil is no longer able to hold water. The soil also becomes very cracked and there’s an increased amount of dust.
The economy itself can fall victim to droughts because of the huge reliance on water. The main business a drought effects is farmers, because they begin to lose money due to damaged crops. And when farmers are not able to pull through on their end of the deal, farmer-dependent businesses begin to lose as well. Water companies are losing money too, because of the shortage, they are having to spend more on water supplies to continue their services. When putting all this together it all comes down to the community and the people having to pay more. They will have to pay more for food because of the difficulty farmers have putting out products.
There have been many solutions brought to the table to help finding an end to droughts. First, there’s education. By education, this means educating people on how droughts occur and their effects. Another step is to end deforestation, by ending deforestation it allows wildlife to keep their habitats, decrease run-off, and decrease the amount of desertification in an area. Finally, there is water conservation and storage, this is a step currently in progress. Teaching water conservation and storage can help citizens be more prepared if there was ever to be another drought and they know what steps to take if the drought does continue.
As you can see, droughts and human interaction both go hand in hand. If people ever want droughts to come to an end, they must take the necessary steps to stop it. Humans play a big role in what happens to the earth and if we want it to get any better, then we has humans must do better as well.