Drought means different things to different people. In practice, drought is defined in a number of ways that reflect various perspectives and interests.

Drought is defined from different perspectives including meteorology, hydrology or agriculture. The end result of drought is defined by its impact on social and economic activities of people in a region. In recent decades, a number of  drought phenomena are seen among natural factors affecting human society that have been more serious than other natural disasters in terms of certain aspects like intensity, duration, affected areas, human casualties, economic damages and long term social impact.

Natural droughts are different from other natural disasters in that the former is a gradual phenomenon and happens almost in a long period of time. Furthermore, compared to other events, its impact may appear with a longer delay during years. So since nobody can predict exactly when a drought may happen, it’s known as a creeping phenomenon.

Since unlike other natural disasters, a drought causes less structural damages, aid delivery in the context exposed to a drought is more complicated than that in the others like a flood, earthquake, etc.

However there are various definitions for this phenomenon, it happens due to lack of rainfall during an extended period of time (often in one season or more). Drought occurs almost everywhere. Its features differ from country to country. It’s difficult to define a drought because it depends on many factors including: differences of areas, needs, etc.

A drought has direct and indirect relationship with various aspects of life and society specially changes of natural environment. Lack of understanding regarding the concept of drought leads to uncertainty and stagnation in sectors of economics, management and even politics.

The shortage of water can be due to a prolonged drought, poor management, water supply and contamination of surface water resources.

A drought can influence a large area or population. Furthermore by making changes in the environment, it can be followed by some risks including: a fire, sudden floods, and the possibility of landslides and dust.

The consequences of drought

  • Wind erosion and its effects
  • Destruction of vegetation
  • Desertification
  • Its effect on public health
  • An increase in the rates of diseases including lung infections, dehydration and other related diseases
  • Problems like malnutrition
  • Famine and lack of water for irrigation
  • Reduction in agricultural products
  • Bird migration due to scarcity of water in lakes
  • Death of domestic animals
  • The occurrence of wildfires
  • Migration
  • Stopping education
  • Disturbance in society
  • War and conflict over natural resources such as water and food

Pre-drought measures

  • Continuous assessment of rainfall and comparing it with previous and next ones
  • The use of warning systems of droughts before its occurrence
  • Planning for drought control and decreasing its destructive consequences


  • Taking necessary measures for decreasing prolonged risk of droughts
  • Diversification of products for decreasing soil erosion
  • Resistant farming against water shortage
  • Water conservation
  • Collecting rain water for use in urgent time
  • Channel construction and guiding rivers and streams toward areas prone to droughts
  • Exploitation of certain water wells and digging new ones
  • Reform of water consumption pattern
  • Public education about optimal use of water in different cases such as watering,

water spray, washing automobiles and filling swimming pools.

  • Drought insurance
  • Preventive measures in the case of emergence of a serpent or snake bite.

Tips for saving water

  • Don’t draw water away unless you are sure that you cannot use it.
  • To save water, use modern taps as much as possible.
  • Keep a few bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. So you are not obliged to leave the taps open in order for the water to be cool because a lot of water will be wasted.
  • With each shower you consume between 20-40 liters of water, so it’s better to reduce the time required to take a shower. In addition using the bathtub is very effective if you want to save water.
  • Using a glass of water you can brush your teeth and so you can stop the water flow during it.
  • Don’t open the tap water during ablution.
  • Fill your washing machine with as much clothes as you can in order for the machine to work with the maximum capacity.
  • When washing fruits and vegetable, close the faucet and sink output and make it half full and finally rinse them with a special shower.
  • Sprinkle green space of your house in cool air preferably at night.
  • Agricultural irrigation methods should be appropriate to the environment or new ways can be used in order to reduce water loss. For example drip irrigation is one of the ways of water utilization in agriculture.
  • Clean the passage of water and stairs with a broom, if using a hosepipe for doing this, you will waste lots of water.
  • Use a few buckets instead of hoses if you want to wash your car.
  • Check your water cooler and use sturdy and durable float valves.
  • Regularly check the water valves and in case of failure get it repaired otherwise dripping and leaking water causes wasting lots of water every 24 hours.

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