The government formally declared parts of England to be in drought as the country faces a period of prolonged hot and dry weather. The declaration does not trigger government-level intervention, but allows water companies to go further in their steps to manage supplies.
GS III- Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Drought?
- Impact of drought
- What are the environmental aspects?
What is Drought?
Drought is a period when there is a shortage of water availability due to inadequate precipitation, excessive rate of evaporation and over-utilisation of water from the reservoirs and other storages, including the ground water.
Types of Droughts
- Meteorological Drought : It is a situation when there is a prolonged period of inadequate rainfall marked with loss distribution of the rain for long time
- Agricultural Drought : It is also known as soil moisture drought, it is characterised by low soil moisture which is necessary to support the crops, thereby resulting in crop failures.
- Hydrological Drought : It results when the availability of water in different storages and reservoirs like aquifers, lakes, reservoirs, etc. falls below what the precipitation can replenish.
- Ecological Drought : it results When the productivity of a natural ecosystem diminishes due to shortage of water and as a consequence of ecological distress, damages are induced in the ecosystem.
Impact of drought:
- The impact of drought is, however, not uniform across genders.
- Research shows that women and girls in emerging and developing countries suffer more in terms of education levels, nutrition, health, sanitation, and safety as a result of droughts.
- The burden of water collection also disproportionately falls on women (72%) and girls (9%). The report notes that they may spend up to 40% of their caloric intake fetching water.
- In 2022, over 2.3 billion people are facing water stress. Almost 160 million children are exposed to severe and prolonged droughts.
What are the environmental aspects?
- The largest increase in drought losses is projected in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic regions of Europe.
- Australia’s megadrought in 2019-2020 contributed to “megafires” resulting in one of the most extensive losses of habitat for threatened species.
- About three billion animals were killed or displaced in the Australian wildfires.
- Around 12 million hectares of land are lost each year due to drought and desertification.
-Source: The Hindu