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Effects of Drought relation to agriculture/K-12

How does this relate to agriculture?

Drought can have a major impact upon crop growth, and subsequent availability of food if the drought is ongoing.  Drought was one factor that contributed to the Dust Bowl years (1930’s) in the U.S in which the dry topsoil was blown away from the farms in the Midwest.  In 1998, drought in the U.S. accounted for over 40 billion dollars in damage.  In some areas of the world, drought can have an immediate and severe impact upon the availability of food.  A drought in 1984 and 1985 in the Horn of Africa was so severe that 750,000 people died from famine.

When a drought occurs, state and local governments will often put regulations into place to control the use of water by restricting some uses.  If they allow irrigation by pumping from groundwater or surface water, you may be able to reduce the effects of the drought, as long as you can afford the equipment and energy costs that irrigation requires.  However, in the worst droughts this may not be an option, and then state and federal government agencies may provide disaster payments to help alleviate the economic impacts of the drought and loss of crop income.  You can help protect yourself from the effects of droughts by planting crops that need less water or acquiring irrigation equipment before drought drives the demand too high.  Everything you can do to conserve water and energy will stretch out the availability of water resources for everyone in your community.

Last modified date: Friday, November 5, 2010 - 1:49pm