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  • 18 November, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

All about Droughts

All about Droughts

  • A prolonged period of total dryness is called a drought. The globe over, it is possible. Uneven distribution, failing monsoons, and a lack of water are the causes of this.
  • When there is nearly no water or very little water available owing to different factors such as insufficient precipitation, excessive water use, a high rate of evaporation, or excessive groundwater use, the situation is referred to as a "drought."
  • When rain is absent or inadequate for an extended period of time, it creates a substantial hydrologic (water) imbalance that leads to water shortages, agricultural damage, decreased streamflow, and groundwater and soil moisture depletion. Evaporation and transpiration overwhelm precipitation over a long period of time.

Types of Drought:

Meteorological Drought

  • A type of drought known as a meteorological drought happens when there is a prolonged lack of precipitation.

Agricultural Drought

  • Low soil moisture, which is essential for crop support, is the cause of the agricultural drought, also known as the soil moisture drought.

Water Resources Drought

  • The hydrological drought is brought on by a lack of water, as the name suggests. When the water level in various reservoirs or storages, such as lakes, aquifers, and so on, drops below the threshold, the condition is referred to as a hydrological drought.

Environmental Drought

  • If the natural environment's production is low owing to insufficient water availability, the ecosystem will suffer harm.

Areas prone to drought:

  • According to data, more than 19% of India's total land area is in a region that is prone to drought. Additionally, drought affects about 12% of India’s total population on a regular basis. Over 50 million people are affected annually by droughts that affect more than 30% of India's entire land area.

Extreme drought-prone areas:

  • The Kachchh and Marusthali regions of India's Aravali mountains are among those most badly affected by drought. In regions like Barmer and Jaisalmer, it rains around 90mm annually.
  • Other Extremely drought-prone regions include the whole of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Rajasthan, interior Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and eastern Maharashtra, as well as sizeable portions of the Karnataka Plateau, northern Tamil Nadu, and southern Jharkhand.

Drought-control measures in India

  • Recognize aquifers' potential for holding groundwater.
  • Interlinking of river water from locations with an abundance to those with a deficit.
  • Design for joining rivers together and creating dams and reservoirs
  • To locate potential river basins, use satellite imagery and remote sensing. These river basins are connectable and can recognise the groundwater potential.
  • Inform people about drought-tolerant plants and provide them with the tools they need to use them in the long run.
  • Rainwater harvesting

The effects of the drought in India:

  • Health problems caused by inadequate water supply or poor water quality
  • Decline in livelihoods and earnings
  • Mental health problems caused by the losses in terms of money and other things
  • Deaths of both people and animals
  • Due to a lack of food and water, wildlife is migrating.
  • Soil erosion and desertification
  • Increases forest fires.

Prevention and Reduction of Drought

  • The Government of India has been carrying out the Desert Development Programme (DDP) and the Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) from 1973–1974 and 1977–1978, respectively.
  • These initiatives work to protect vulnerable areas from desertification and drought. These places, which are regularly impacted by severe drought conditions and desertification, are in the arid, semi-arid, and dry-sub-humid zones.

Integrated Watershed Management

The prevention of drought conditions is greatly aided by integrated watershed management.

  • This strategy guarantees coordinated planning, combined use of surface and groundwater, prioritisation of rational water use, and planning based on the entire amount of available water resources.
  • Various watersheds have been constructed throughout the country’s different rainfed regions as part of the National Watershed Programme for Rainfed Areas.

Way Forward

A prolonged dry spell known as drought can occur anywhere on the earth as a result of the natural climate cycle. It is a slow-moving catastrophe characterised by a dearth of precipitation, which results in a water shortage. Drought has the ability to significantly impact agriculture, energy, economics, and health.

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Source: Dr Khullar

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