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Drought - an Issue of the Century

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Alexandra Cousteau, an emerging explorer of National Geographic Channel, initiated a nonprofit ‘Blue Legacy’ in order to raise water issues concerns around the globe. Water problems like droughts, storms, floods, and degraded water conditions made her believe that this is a rising crucial issue of the century. Like this initiation, other people across continents have started to work accordingly to save water and to avoid fatal scenarios such as droughts.

Unlike other natural disasters, the starting time or the ending time of drought cannot be pinpointed, hence this causes a lot more disastrous situation for the people facing it. We will in this section learn about droughts and how we can manage to surpass such a problem. 


What is Drought? 


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Drought is such a period of time when an area or a region is exposed to below-normal precipitation conditions. Drought condition, also known as the Water Drought condition means the lack of necessary precipitation, which is either in the form of rain or snow. This causes the soil to reduce its moisture. This loss of moisture also causes reduced groundwater, less streamflow, crop damage, and all over a general water shortage. 

Discussing further drought conditions, firstly to mention this disaster affects people in many ways. People do not have access to clean drinking water which is undoubtedly essential to live. Other sources of water also diminish during a drought. In this condition, people are seen travelling miles after miles to fetch water from elsewhere. Drought condition also prevents the growth of the crops. As there is a lack of precipitation, naturally then the water crops must be watered by irrigation, but irrigation is also not possible as there is not enough water in nearby rivers, lakes, or streams, or from the groundwater. Some places also might face severe drought-like situations. Severe droughts are described as a long period of abnormally low rainfall, a low amount of rain adversely affects the growing cultivation including the living conditions. This is a prolonged dearth or shortage of water. 


Types of Drought

There are different types of drought conditions on many bases in this section. We will know the basis of classification and the types of droughts under them. In our next section, we will explain the typical types of drought conditions. 

Drought is being classified- 

On the basis of Source of Water availability 

Under this we have three types of drought:

1. Meteorological Drought. 

Meteorological Drought is again classified as:

  • Slight Drought – When the rainfall is 11 to 25%

  • Moderate Drought - Rainfall here is 26 to 50%

  • Severe Drought – In this, the rainfall is more than 50%.


2. Hydrological Drought


3. Agricultural Drought

On the basis of Occurrence

  1. Permanent Drought Area

  2. Seasonal Drought Area

  3. Contingent Drought

On the basis of medium

  1. Soil Drought

  2. Atmospheric Drought

 

Meteorological Drought 

Meteorological droughts abbreviated as MD are the water shortages that are caused by the imbalance in precipitation and the rate of evaporation. 


Hydrological Drought

Hydrological drought refers to the lack of water that is contained in the hydrological system. Hydrological drought also gives rise to abnormally low streamflow in the rivers and low levels in the lakes, reservoirs water. This is a part of the bigger drought phenomenon with a natural hazard.


Agricultural Drought 


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Agricultural drought is marked with the set in when the soil moisture requirement to plants has totally dropped to such a level which adversely affects the crop cultivation and thus decreases the agricultural profitability. Agricultural Drought is the soil moisture being deficient compared to the meteorological droughts and climatic factors with their impacts on agricultural production and in economic profitability. 


Socioeconomic Drought 

Socioeconomic definitions of drought are related to the supply and demand of some economic goods. Socioeconomic drought is very much different from the already mentioned types of drought. Socioeconomic drought occurrence depends on the time and the space processes for the supply and demand to identify or to classify the types of droughts. Economic goods, such as water, food grains, fish, and power supply, depending on the weather conditions. Thus, these goods face scarcity of production. 

 

Floods and Droughts 


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We, human beings, do require water to survive. Water is used for washing, drinking, and for watering crops. Thus, the amount of water that is available depends on the rain or snowfall. 

Unfortunately, precipitation is not equally distributed around the world. Some areas rarely see rainfall, the acute drought condition which we are discussing in this content. While others get more water than required, the acute flood problem.  These problems occur when they are least expected to happen. 

Equally, humans are responsible for this disaster to happen. If we have paid attention to the soil condition, its loosing of moisture, also if minimum attention was paid to the dry weather conditions, and thus, if we planted vegetation droughts could be resolved. 

Also, floods could be prevented, by proper sewage and draining systems and unnecessary clogging of water. If we emitted less pollution and stopped the glaciers from melting rapidly, maybe it would aid for floods. 


Management of Drought


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Managers are available who are responsible to supply water, preparing for and responding to drought-like events. Apart from this, below are the management techniques that one must follow if drought hits. They are:

  • Starting public information and education campaigns.

  • Initiating emergency conservation programs.

  • The water service is to be under restrictions.

  • Stoppage of nonessential uses of water.

  • Drought emergency pricing is to be done.

  • Water rationing programs are to be started.

  • Augmentation is required.

  • Improvements in the water systems, like leak detection and lining of transmission canals.

  • Emergency sources of supply are to be found out. 

  • Managing the available water sources.

  • Searching for new supplies of the water system.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who is Actually Responsible For Drought?

Ans. We human beings are the ones responsible for droughts to occur. In 2016, when drought occurred in Maharashtra, it was studied and thus analyzed that the humans themselves were responsible for their occurrence, the government did nothing for the water scarcity and hence in crucial times, there was no supply of water. 

2. Name Some Drought-Prone Nations?

Ans. Some droughts prone nations are as follows:

  1. Ethiopia

  2. Sudan

  3. Eritrea

  4. Afghanistan

  5.  China

  6. Pakistan

  7. Iran

  8. Somalia

3. When Was India Last Hit By Drought?

Ans. In the year 2015-2018, India faced the longest drought condition it raised an alarm on the negative effects of the future droughts on water security in our nation.