Ecology And Environment

The Importance of Reusing Water in Drought Prone Areas



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Rainfall can be very unpredictable in certain parts of the world where flooding and extreme droughts can take place at different times of the year or concurrently, in different geographical locations, within the same country. Some geographical locations are more prone to droughts than to heavy rains. When the proneness to drought is significant, such areas are described as "drought-prone areas."

Defining the drought-proneness and its severity

However, experts define a drought prone area as an area with 20 percent or more probability of a drought during a year. Thus, a previously uncategorized geographical location might be named as a drought-prone area following analyzing its previous rainfall patters and other atmospheric indicators. At the same time, there is another category called the "chronic drought prone areas," which consist of areas with 40 percent or more probability of a drought within a year. At times, depending on the sum of rainfall, countries can be classified as being affected by drought and in the event where more than 50 percent of the country is being affected by the drought, it is classified as a "severe drought." When the drought affected area is between 26 percent and 50 percent of the country, it is recognized as a "moderate drought."

Problems emanating due to drought proneness

A drought-prone area may encounter several issues pertaining to the scarcity of rainwater. In general, such areas will be experiencing or have already experienced a gradual degradation of their natural resources, which are constantly being pressurized by large populations of humans, cattle and other animals. Thus, there may be limitations in food, fodder and fuel. In addition, the vegetative cover in such areas may also be depleting with time along with the superficial fertile soil, because of soil erosion. Furthermore, the lack of superficial water resources would mean that there might have been continuous and uncontrolled harvesting of ground water without taking measures to recharge the underground aquifers.  Thus, drought-prone areas may also experience depletion in their ground water resources.

Mitigating the challenges of drought

Thus, it is important for people in such areas to re-use water in order to mitigate these challenges, at least to a certain extent. In this regard, experts have suggested the recycling of used or wasted water by treating and reclamation for human, animal and agricultural uses. In addition, sewage water not contaminated with heavy metals has been suggested as suitable for raising agro-forestry, industrial bio-mass and for parks. In addition to such recycling methods, experts have suggested the use of more efficient storage devices and methods when dealing with rainwater. Roof harvesting of rainwater is one such suggestion. At the same time, such areas may do well by shifting to less water demanding crops.

All in all, drought-prone areas need an effective strategy for reusing their water and should not attempt to put pressure on their already depleting ground water resources unless such resources are being re-charged.

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