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#FactFriday: Here are shocking facts about droughts you didn’t know

droughts - climateaction

#FactFriday: Here are shocking facts about droughts you didn’t know

Hello readers. Welcome to #FactFriday on CleanbuildVoices!

Droughts signify a prolonged period without substantial rainfall that may result in a reduction in soil water content, thereby resulting in plant water deficit. As the environment becomes further affected by climate change, soils run dry, rivers get low water levels and the vegetation becomes discolored.

There are different drought measurements that can indicate different levels of severity and this is dependent on the response of the vegetation to dry conditions, duration of dryness, or the amount of water stored in rivers, water reservoirs, or in the soil.

Below are facts about droughts and water scarcity that we think you should know:

  • As the climate heats up, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in some locations.
  • The effects of prolonged drought make it difficult to support food crops and as such, could lead to famine
  • People die every day due to scarce or unreliable water and sanitation facilities in many communities around the world.
  • Women and girls are most affected because they often bear the burden of sourcing and carrying water from far distances.
  • There are four types of drought: agricultural (lack of moisture in the soil where crops grow), meteorological (lack of precipitation), hydrological (low levels of water in lakes and reservoirs), and socioeconomic (water shortages in drinking and running water).
Bottom line

Droughts, if not well managed, can negatively impact human health, the environment, and the economy. For example, in the agriculture sector, when there is not enough water for agricultural production, farmers lose their harvest and livelihoods, and this will lead to inflation and food insecurity.

Also, deforestation will increase as people seek agricultural land to produce enough food under drought conditions, leading to the reduction in the capacity of the soil’s ability to store water. What’s more, drought can result to sickness due to dirty water consumption and conflicts.

As climate conditions worsen, plans need to be put in place to prevent droughts and this can be done by looking at how much water is needed and what kind of water resources are available under different drought conditions.

There needs to be a better understanding of the agricultural lands and communities that are at risk of droughts and the reason why they are at risk, while also identifying measures for drought prevention and community capacity building.

These drought risk reduction measures can be in form of introducing more drought-resistant crops or livestock in drought-prone regions and establishing water reservoirs during drought-free periods.

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