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  • A drought is a long period when rainfall is below average
  • Water supplies - e.g lakes and rivers - are depleted during a drought because people keep using them but they aren't replenished by rainfall
  • High temperatures often occur with droughts which increases the rate of evaporation, so water supplies are depleted faster
  • The length of a drought is different in different places

Climatic conditions that cause periods of drought:

  • Droughts are caused when changes in atmospheric circulation mean it doesn't rain much in an area for years e.g Ethiopia
  • Changes in atmospheric circulation can also make the annual rains fail e.g monsoon rain does not come when they normally do in places like India
  • Droughts are also caused when high pressure weather systems (called anticyclones) block depressions (weather systems that cause rain) e.g the UK

Areas most at risk from drought are: North-eastern Africa; the Sahel; southern Africa; the Middle East; Australia and parts of eastern South America and Indonesia

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Why do people still live in areas where drought ha

  • They've always lived there
  • They've got a job in the area
  • They don't think a drought will happen again
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Impacts of Drought

Primary Impacts:

  • Vegetation dies - including crops
  • People and animals die from dehydration
  • Aquatic animals die because lakes and rivers dry up
  • Soil dries out and is easily eroded by the wind and rain

Secondary Impacts:

  • Animals die from starvation because there's no vegetation
  • Shortage of food because crops have failed and livestock has died -> people die from starvation
  • Soil erosion is increased because there's less vegetation to hold it together- causes desertification (where land becomes unsuitable for growing vegetation)
  • Conflicts over water supplies
  • People move out of the area to find water
  • Farms close - causing unemployment
  • People may suffer psychological problems e.g stress from losing their business
  • Dried out vegetation can be easily ignited e.g by lightning -> causing wildfires
  • Winds pick up dry soil - causing dust storms
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Human activities also increase the impact of droug


  • Reduces vegetation in an area
  • Makes soil erosion even worse - with fewer plants, soil isn't held together as strongly so it's eroded more easily

Excessive Irrigation*:

  • Depletes rivers and lakes - increases the impact of drought because there's less water
  • When irrigation water evaporates, salts are left in the soil (salinisation) - crops don't grow well in salty soil -> also increases impact of drought

* Irrigation is where water is artificially supplied from rivers or lakes to farmland to increase crop production

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Impacts of drought are more severe in LEDCs

  • More people depend on farming - if crops and livestock die lots of people will lose their livelihoods -> also causing starvation
  • Less money to prepare for droughts or respond to them - e.g can't afford to buy resevoirs, so the impact of droughts are more severe
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Reducing the impacts of drought - 1


  • Droughts can be predicted by monitoring rainfall
  • To reduce impact e.g banning hosepipes, rationing water, moving people out of areas that will be affected badly

Water Conservation:

  • Install low volume flush toilets, take showers instead of baths
  • Install water butts to collect rainwater
  • Reduces demand of water, so more is available during drought

Farming Techniques:

  • Drought resistant crops (ones that need little water) e.g olives, millet, sorghum
  • Drip irrigation delivers small volumes of water directly to crop roots
  • Food production becomes more reliable
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Reducing the impacts of drought - 2

Increase Water Supplies:

  • Resevoirs and wells can be built to increase water supplies
  • More water becomes available during drought - reducing deaths from dehydration and making food production more reliable


  • Emergency aid e.g food and water, to stop dehydration and starvation
  • Fund development projects e.g building wells or water pipes - making water more availale during droughts

Sustainable Strategies:

  • Most strategies are sustainable because they're effective and environmentally friendly
  • Building wells can deplete groundwater supplies - less water for people in the future -> not sustainable
  • Building resevoirs can reduce other people's water supply downriver -> not sustainable because it doesn't meet the needs of people alive now
  • Some are more sustainable because they're more cost efficient - e.g buying pipes for drip irrigation is expensive but it saves a lot of water -> can be more cost effective than emergency aid
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Jack Cotton

fuucking lovely job son!

bert baker

i agree 

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