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Drought Attack

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Water, the source of life and crucial element for survival, has come under pressure in recent years. Many predict that future wars will be fought in order to gain control over water supplies. This day has not come as of yet; but, with the rate of human consumption of resources, this day may be closer than we think.

It is not only human interference that is causing depletion in natural water supplies, but also the changes in climate. The Earth’s climate has always been changing and these changes always have a direct effect on the land. Recently, Earth has been witnessing an increase in droughts in various parts of the world. The affected areas suffer greatly from lack of water, and if things do not change in coming years, there will be disastrous consequences.

Droughts occur when areas that usually witness a certain amount of rain go a long time without getting rain; this dry weather has drastic effects on the environment. Lack of rainfall can cause the soil to dry, and dry weather causes water reservoirs to dry up; the more they dry up, the harder it gets for them to be replenished once again.

Lack of rainfall is not the only factor that causes droughts; they can also occur due to the rising temperatures caused by the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases are being released due to human activity; unless curbed, temperatures will continue to rise. The cutting down of trees also fuels droughts, since trees protect water from evaporating at a quick pace and help keep moisture in the atmosphere. Groundwater also benefits from trees; once they are gone, the ground is unable to hold water as effectively, so water dries out, causing desertification of the affected area.

During droughts, farmers are one of the groups that suffer the most; whether they raise cattle or farm the land, the scarcity of water has a direct impact on their livelihoods. When farm lands dry up, the soil can lose all its moisture and eventually the land can become barren and unusable. This is because the soil quality is lowered and realizes a decrease in organic activity; all forms of life end up dying. Dry soil makes it easy for soil erosion to occur, since any wind coming its way will pick it up and carry it elsewhere. Cattle also suffer; many end up starving or dying from thirst.

Droughts have a hand in causing migrations, of both animals and humans; both end up leaving the dry area in search of a more hospitable environment. However, their search is not always fruitful; this is why water conservation, as well as storage, is crucial. Water, being the life source, must be protected; overuse of groundwater and fresh water sources must be stopped and the focus must be on sustainable usage. Some countries have tried to implement fines on those misusing water resources during dry spells in attempt to curb such harmful behavior.

The past few years have been the driest in some parts of the world, including California, India, and South Africa to mention only a few. “California has just entered the fifth year of below-normal precipitation, abnormally high temperatures, and reduced water availability” as reported on National Geographic ScienceBlogs.

Interested to see the effects of droughts on the environment? Have a look at the following videos:

Reference
scienceblogs.com

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