Drought Effects on the Environment and Some Solutions

October 14, 2008 / 6 Comments

drought Drought Effects on the Environment and Some SolutionsWhen a region receives a constantly reduced – usually none – water supply be it from rain or other sort of technologies, it’s been affected by drought. Usually lasting for years, severe droughts can cause real damage even if they last a couple of months.

But the effects are way beyond the physical damage we see (like the reduced crop) and are more likely to influence the economy, the society and obviously the environment.

“Inspired” by what I’ve read about Southern Australia, I decided to see what are some environmental effects of droughts and if there’s something we can do about it.

  1. Increased desertification and damage to animal species
  2. The degradation of the land which is what drought causes, has a major impact on the environment causing biodiversity loss and loss of productive capacity. For example, if current trends of soil degradation continue in Africa and no other measures are being taken, they’ll end up feeding only 25-percent of the country’s population.

  3. Damage to wildlife habitat, animal and plant species
  4. Lack of water and lack of food will have a great effect on animals and plants in the drought-affected areas.

  5. Diseases and increased predation
  6. Diseases get established in a drought stressed plant and the impact of the root rots may be significant. Usually, because of the hot days and chilled nights, dew may form on the leaves of the plants causing humidity and leaving them exposed to diseases. Also during drought periods, snakes have been known to emerge and snakebites become more common.

  7. Increased number and severity of fires
  8. Fallen branches, leaves, grasses and scrub usually dry out and become highly flammable causing uncontrolled fires. That’s what happens when there so much sun. South-east Australia is considered one of the most fire prone areas of the world, common for sever bushfires.

  9. Wind and water erosion of soils
  10. According to vulnerability, drought creates windblown dust bowls which erodes the landscape, damages terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitat.

But something can be done about it. There are a few measures that can be taken against drought effects, which are called mitigation strategies:

  • desalination of sea water for irrigation or consumption,
  • rainwater harvesting – collection and storage
  • water recycling – sewage wastewater that is being treated and purified, and used for irrigation
  • cloud seeding – it’s a new artificial technology that induces rainfall
  • water restrictions if needed
  • drought monitoring – that’s obvious.

Here are some bad looking drought pictures:

Images courtesy of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


  • Matthew

    You left off praying. Your site has a thread from yesterday saying God is causing fires in CA over gay marriage. So can’t we just do something to please God and make the drought go away?

  • http://www.greenpacks.org Bill Belew

    Yo, Matthew…where is the part that we said God caused fires in CA over gay marriages?

    I am missing that connection.

  • http://environmentonearth.com/ semona

    Its high time to think, Global warming is happening every where leaving serious signs on earth like droughts, floods etc.

  • sdgas

    mat, your idea of god is all wrong. read the bible and you will know better.

  • timmy

    God is nature.

    Stop opposing nature to solve your drought problem.

    Eliminate lawns in arid areas where over consumption is not sustainable.( The California Coast, the desert)

    Develop and install solar stills in gardens and marshy costal areas to water sustainable plant life. Use crushed granite, sand, native plants, rocks, etc. to landscape.

    We have become slaves to the water & power grid. Enjoy true freedom, become self sufficient and independent in your needs from government.

    Government will continually enlarge itself until there is nothing left of sustainable free society. The shortages are opportunity for government to implement more tax and keep us in servitude to socialist solutions.

    Welcome to the world of freedoms illusion. Free people do not give the product of their labor in respect to housing and food to a ruler.

  • Gail

    Where we have too much water and not enough money we need to form a team. Have firemen in each flooded state join their fire hoses, place one end in flooded zone the other end stretching across each state to Texas and to Nevada (for now)and let it run all over these two states for now (may need a inexpensive pump), and later put together pipelines that will pump water back and forth to which ever states need water or out of which state that’s recieving too much rain.