October 5, 2010

Impact of Droughts - APPSC g1 mains - paper4-sec3-unit2

 Environmental Impacts


Damage to animal species

  • Reduction and degradation of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Lack of feed and drinking water
  • Greater mortality due to increased contact with agricultural producers, as animals seek food from farms and producers are less tolerant of the intrusion
  • Disease
  • Increased vulnerability to predation (from species concentrated near water)
  • Migration and concentration (loss of wildlife in some areas and too many wildlife in other areas)
  • Increased stress to endangered species
  • Loss of biodiversity

Hydrological effects

  • Lower water levels in reservoirs, lakes, and ponds
  • Reduced flow from springs
  • Reduced streamflow
  • Loss of wetlands
  • Estuarine impacts (e.g., changes in salinity levels)
  • Increased groundwater depletion, land subsidence, reduced recharge
  • Water quality effects (e.g., salt concentration, increased water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity)

Damage to plant communities

  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Loss of trees from urban landscapes, shelterbelts, wooded conservation areas

Increased number and severity of fires
Wind and water erosion of soils, reduced soil quality
Air quality effects (e.g., dust, pollutants)
Visual and landscape quality (e.g., dust, vegetative cover, etc.)

Second version of IMPACTS OF DROUGHTS:

Drought also causes environmental losses because of forest fires; soil erosion; damage to plants, animals, and their habitat; and air and water quality decline. Sometimes the damage is only temporary, and conditions return to normal when the drought is over. But sometimes drought's impact on the environment can last a long time, or may even become permanent if, for example, an endangered species was lost because of low stream flows. Examples of environmental impacts include:

  • Losses or destruction of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Lack of food and drinking water for wild animals
  • Increase in disease in wild animals, because of reduced food and water supplies
  • Migration of wild animals, leading to a loss of wildlife in some (drought-stricken) areas and too many wildlife in areas not affected by drought
  • Increased stress on endangered species
  • Lower water levels in reservoirs, lakes, and ponds
  • Loss of wetlands
  • More fires
  • Wind and water erosion of soils, reduced soil quality

Social impacts of drought include public safety, health, conflicts that arise between people when there isn't enough water to go around, and changes in lifestyle. Many of the impacts that we consider economic and environmental also have social impacts. Examples of social impacts include:

  • Mental and physical stress on people (for example, people may experience anxiety or depression about economic losses caused by drought)
  • Health problems related to low water flows (for example, low water supplies and water pressure make fire fighting more difficult)
  • Loss of human life (from heat stress and suicides, for example)
  • Threat to public safety from an increased number of forest and range fires
  • Reduced incomes
  • Population migrations (from rural to urban areas)
  • Fewer recreational activities

All of these impacts must be considered in planning for and responding to drought conditions.




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