When I was in graduate school, we spent some time discussing natural disasters and their impacts on humanity. I was surprised to learn that drought was considered to be a significant natural disaster. In the
What is drought? Simply put, a drought occurs when there is a substantial lack of rainfall in a given area, enough to negatively impact people, plants, and animals.
The definition of drought, however, is unique to a given location. What would be considered a drought in the wetlands of southern
There are a couple of factors that make coping with drought challenging. For one, by the time that you realize you are in drought, it’s already begun. Pinpointing when a drought first starts is nearly impossible, although groups like the United States Geological Survey do an admirable job of searching for signs of trouble. (Among other things, the USGS monitors the flow of water in streams and rivers. Low flow signals a possible drought-related problem.)
Once you realize that you are in a drought, no one can say how long it will last. Rainfall models can only tell you so much. For city planners and others who regulate water flow, it can be difficult to decide when and how to moderate water intake. Imposing water restrictions, ironically, can make a drought situation worse if panic ensues and people begin to hoard water. UNL’s