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Drought: Water Deficiency Causes Long Term Affects

When a region doesn’t have a significant rainfall for a period of time, which can range from 15 days to several years, it is considered a drought. This water shortage may be a lack of surface water, atmospheric problems or lack of ground water and it can have a severe impact on the region’s ecosystem and agriculture.

Prolonged Drought Has Major Effect on the Region

Some droughts may persist for several years at a time, but even shorter droughts can cause damage to an area. The loss of crops causes hardship for farmers and raises the cost of fruits and vegetables, corn and wheat among other products for consumers. The longer a drought lasts however, it creates larger problems and can contribute to mass migrations and humanitarian crises.

The effect a drought can have on the environment is staggering and covers a wide area such as environmental, agricultural, economic, social, and health. Farmers who depend on the weather and a certain amount of moisture to grow their crops are most likely to migrate to more productive areas, especially if they don’t own the land or are subsistence farmers. This means, the people living in these regions are susceptible to famine.

Drought will also reduce water quality for consumption, due to the lower water flow levels which does not allow for pollution to be diluted and so the water becomes increasingly contaminated leaving it unfit to drink. The lack of drinking water will also lead to livestock deaths.


Industrial Impact of Droughts

The farmer isn’t the only one to suffer due to droughts, companies that rely on water resources also suffer when a drought hits. This usually causes electricity production to reduce due to lower water flow through hydroelectric dams, shortage of water for processing plants and even war may result over natural resources including food.

Dust bowls, dust storms and wildfires all cause damage to the landscape and result in further erosion of the land making it difficult to farm. Droughts plague many countries around the world and even though some are shorter in duration, the long-term affects are felt for years after the rains start to fall again.

Droughts are the oldest documented climate event and are a recurring staple in many parts of the world. Modern people can adapt to drought conditions if they rotate their crops on a regular basis and irrigate their fields to provide much needed water.