If you had to guess what the most important component for human survival was, what would you say? Well, if you said anything other than water, you would be wrong. Water is the most important thing for humans, yet no matter where you are, extreme droughts are present.
These droughts are shrinking freshwater supplies and forcing changes in many nations in order to cut back on water usage. While many people may only focus on the drought in their area, it’s really important to understand that it’s on a global scale.
The Western Drought In the US
Starting at home, the west side of the United States is experiencing the worst drought conditions in the last 1200 years. These conditions have led to myriad forest fires that ravage the land. And it’s getting to a point where it may impact electricity.
That’s right; for the first time since its construction in 1931, the Hoover Dam may not be able to generate electricity if water levels continue to decrease at this unprecedented rate. This has forced emergency water preservation measures within these states.
The EU Is Suffering From Extreme Droughts
According to Copernicus, this drought is the worst one the continent has experienced in over 500 years. This can be concluded by the soil. During the driest part, August, more than half of the ground had a soil moisture deficit.
This is caused when the soil does not receive enough rain. Not only was the soil impacted, but rivers are also beginning to shrink, and this was very noticeable in the UK. This not only impacts access to freshwater for humans but also for animals.
China’s Largest River, Yangtze, Is Shrinking
China is also suffering from droughts as the country experienced the longest stretch of sustained high temperatures in the last 60 years. This is forcing its largest river to begin drying up. During this period, there was 60% less rainfall.
Yet, interestingly enough, the northern part of China actually saw higher than average levels of rain, which led to flooding. This began showcasing that climate change affects areas very differently, yet they are not better off for it.
Extreme Droughts Will Only Get Worse
There’s no easy way to say this, things are going to get worse. All of this is happening before the temperature even approaches the goal of the Paris Agreement (1.5C). And in all honesty, it’s quite unlikely we will be able to limit global warming to that level.
Extreme weather conditions like droughts, hurricanes, monsoons, and more will get worse. Not only that, but they will also occur more frequently, which could cost countries billions in damages. The best way to prevent this is to curb emissions.
However, with current estimates in mind, that’s just not going to happen in the near future. In fact, some countries are starting to use more coal amidst gas shortages thanks to the actions of Russia as of late.
That by itself will only exacerbate the problem.
Even if emissions were curbed, we will still need to adapt societies for the climate of today.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.