Planning to minimise the impact of droughts
Unlike a hurricane or tropical storm, no one can keep a watch on when a drought is coming and when it will end. However, there are many things an individual, community or government can do to minimize the impact of drought if they occur. The term for taking precautions to minimize drought risk is ‘Drought Mitigation’
Here are a few:
It is important that each of us learn about how droughts occur and how they affect us. This empowers us to think of solutions and other things we can do if we find ourselves in a drought. The government (or authorities) also need to educate the public periodically about their environment, climate, weather and some natural disasters that can happen. The government also needs to understand the terrain of the region and the likelihood of a drought, so that there are no surprises if they happen
Taking measures to stop all forms of water pollution is important, because on the onset of droughts, humans resort to surface water such as streams and lakes and the like. If those are in great condition, humans can depend on them for drinking and irrigation until things improve. If they are all polluted or contaminated and unsafe for any kind of use, it makes the problem even more distressing.
Water conservation and storage
Water is precious and a scarce commodity everywhere in the world and humans need to use water wisely as such. Even if there is water available, it is important because the practice makes us cope better when there is a shortage. Also, preserving water leaves enough to be stored in dams, reservoirs and even turned into ponds.
California Drought 2014, USA
On 15th July 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board announced that residents who waste water on outdoor lawns and landscaping would be fined $500 a day. This emergency regulation is put in place to enforce water conservation efforts by the state of California, as they fight a state-wide drought, believed to be the state's driest year on record.
People must learn to conserve water, even if there is no drought. With the right attitude towards water, we are better prepared to face the impact in case there is a shortage.
Sometimes (especially in developed nations) canals and pipelines are built to connect places with abundant water to places with less water. Projects like that can be very expensive, but they ensure that during droughts, there can be some water flow until traditional water supply sources improve.
Our reading and research for this lesson included the following resources:
1. Drought Basics, The National Drought Mitigation Center., http://drought.unl.edu/DroughtBasics.aspx
2. Questions and answers about droughts., The USGS Water Science School., http://water.usgs.gov/edu/qadroughts.html
3. Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress., Congressional Research Service., http://www.doi.gov/library/internet/subject/upload/RL34580.pdf
4. Drought Management., Water Encyclopedia.,
5. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND RECENT EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS,
BY JAMES BRADBURY AND CHRISTINA DECONCINI, The World Resources Institute.,
6. Too little water - drought., BBC BiteSize., http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/water_rivers/drought_rev1.shtml
7. Natural Hazards | Heat & Drought., Natural Disasters Associationhttp://www.n-d-a.org/heat-drought.php8. ABOUT DROUGHTS., Australian Emergency Management Institute, http://schools.aemi.edu.au/content/privacy-statement