Not Enough Water

Water is a simple molecule consisting of just two hydrogen atoms attached to a single oxygen atom.  Water is transparent, nearly colorless containing a hint of blue, odorless, tasteless and extremely useful as we drink it, wash ourselves and our clothes with it, we cook with it, we swim in it and go boating and fishing on it.  This extraordinary substance and vital resource has shaped our history and human society.  Violent storms and floods can bring water in ferocious abundance causing floods that result in death and disease, and just as quickly drought and desertification can create crippling shortages that cause famine. Drought is a natural phenomenon, consisting of a period of unusually dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages.  A drought can impact a local climate and the severity of the drought is dependent upon the degree of moisture deficiency, along with the duration and the size of the affected area.

Humans can unknowingly influence droughts by turning fertile land into less or non-productive land as a result of over expansion of farmlands or by the overgrazing of livestock, and this can lead to land degradation.  In drylands when a drought becomes extreme this is called desertification.  In the areas affected by desertification, the threat of drought constantly looms over them and droughts will occur frequently as they are a natural feature of the climate in these regions.  The relation between desertification and drought is complex and at some unknown point during a long-duration drought it should probably be reclassified as a climate change, where it would fall under the umbrella of desertification.  Some people think that global warming may be the reason why droughts are becoming more frequent in some areas.  Drought and desertification are entangled adversaries that effect the daily lives of many poor and hungry people throughout the world.

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