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Drought Conditions

Drought conditions can happen anywhere at any given time so you should learn how to conserve water, even if you don't live in a drought prone area.

A drought in nature is a period of time when it doesn't rain or snow enough to refill, or replenish, underground water tables, natural lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds, or artificially built reservoirs and/or other water storage areas. This causes a deficiency in the amount of water needed to support human, animal, and plant life, not just in large cities, but in small towns and communities as well.

Farmers and ranchers are usually the one's who bear the brunt of droughts because water that is usually allocated to farmers and ranchers is usually diverted to towns and cities for human consumption. This causes a drop in the harvest of fruits and vegetables and the death or stunted growth of livestock, which in turn, creates a shortage of food which drives prices up.

There are several stages that a drought can go through. The stages range from abnormally dry, moderately dry, severely dry, extremely dry, and exceptionally dry. Even though it may rain or snow throughout the year, the total amount of precipitation might not be enough to replenish the water used by homeowners, farmers and ranchers, businesses, cities, and other water consuming entities.

Prolonged droughts can be very destructive. Billions of dollars can be lost if the drought is long and persistent and lives are upended. Some areas of the world have historically long droughts that last for many years causing economic collapses of economies, social structures, malnutrition, and in some cases, mass starvation and long term displacement of the people who live in those areas.

A year or two without adequate rainfall may not be that bad but if several years pass and the drought becomes severe, it will have a negative impact on everyone, and everything, living in the drought stricken area.

When lakes, streams, and ponds dry up, chemicals, decaying animals and fish, and other pollutants settle into the soil. When the soil has completely dried, it turns into dust, and can be blown about by the wind. Wind driven dust can cause pollutants to go airborne and cause severe allergies, rashes, and other diseases that can have a devastating effect on the lungs and other organs in the body.

The effects of a drought may not be felt right away. It may take years of insufficient rainfall to substantially lower or deplete reservoirs and to drop underground water tables to levels that make it necessary for state or local authorities to declare mandatory water rationing and other conservation measures.

Once a drought is over, it may take many years for a stricken area to return to normalcy. It may leave an ugly scar on forests, grasslands, and tundra. In many areas where there has been a long drought, especially in lands already arid or in near desert conditions, the desert actually claims much of the land and can leave it barren.

Although a drought is basically a silent disaster, meaning it doesn't come with hurricane or tornado force winds, tsunami waves, widespread floodwaters, or the rocking and rolling of earthquakes, it can be more devastating to much wider areas.

Everyone has an obligation to help make their environment a safe place to live in. Even if you don't live in an area that have frequent long term droughts, that doesn't mean that it can't happen where you are. You should learn all you can about droughts and other natural disasters so you can prepare for them.

Do your part by installing water saving devices and appliances in your home and business. Learn the best ways to conserve water and pay attention to news reports about impending droughts and other natural disasters. Knowledge and preparation can save you money and may save your life.

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