Drought takes a toll on the people living in a region because of the disastrous effects it has on the environment. In many parts of the world, drought is a natural occurrence during seasons of the year where there is very little precipitation. Even if it occurs once in many years, drought can seriously impact the agriculture and ecosystems of a region and can have a dramatic effect on the local economy. In areas commonly affected by drought, the government and local agencies have taken steps to minimize the impact when it does occur. Lengthy droughts have been the cause of mass migrations in many countries of the world, especially those in Africa.
There are several strategies that can be put in place to mitigate the results of drought:
1. Cloud seeding. This is an artificial means of inducing precipitation. It involves the use of dispersing substances into the clouds to cause rain or snow to fall to the earth. Silver iodide and dry ice are the common elements used in this process. The clouds need to have super cooled liquid so that they will dispense the built up precipitation because the ice particles become exceptionally heavy.
2. Desalination. During periods of drought there is a lack of drinking water for people and animals. In many places that have access to sea water, the process of desalination is used to take the salt out of the water so that it is fit for consumption. This water can also be used to irrigate crops and keep them growing under the hot and dry weather conditions.
3. Harvesting of rainwater. There are several methods of collecting rainwater, such as in barrels placed on rooftops. There are also commercial methods available for this use, such as pressurized and gravity-fed systems.
4. Recycling water systems. In larger centers water previously used as water for washing and the water from sewage systems is recycled and cleaned to be reused as water for irrigation systems. Such systems are commonly used in areas known to be affected by drought, such as in Southeast Asia and in California. The solid wastes and impurities are removed through the process so that the water does not contain any harmful ingredients.
5. Aqueducts. Aqueducts have been built in drought-prone regions to transport water to areas where it is needed.
6. Restrictions on the use of water. During the hot weather of the summer, many large cities place restrictions on the use of water. This consists of restrictions on how often residents can water lawns, wash their cars or hose down their walkways and the exterior of their homes. Both municipal and local governments can put these bans on water use in place.