All Weather News

Drought Conditions: Economic, Environmental, and Social Impacts

12 Nov 2016, 12:06 am
As much as we have seen major flooding this year with too much rain falling in places, this year has also seen drought conditions worsen for parts of the country, particularly in the southeast.


Drought conditions set in when an geographic area has a prolonged duration of below normal precipitation and can major impacts on environment and communities.

The many different drought impacts are often grouped as “economic,” “environmental,” and “social” impacts.

Within these groups impacts are also categorized as direct and indirect.


Direct impacts of drought can include agricultural loss, including forest production decreases, increased fire danger, water level drops in surface and subterranean reservoirs, detrimental impacts on livestock and wildlife.  

The direct impacts from drought then correspond to indirect impacts which are also wide ranging.  Examples of indirect impacts include revenue loss in farming, increased cost of food and materials, and even impacts on recreational activities which rely on more precipitation.

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The longer drought conditions persist the more and varied are the impacts are. both direct and indirect.

Here is a list of some of the impacts of droughts

Economic Impacts

Crop loss to farmers
Increased cost of irrigation and new wells for farming
Cost of feed and water increases to ranchers
Ripple effect from food producer loss to increased retail cost of goods
Recreational income losses from dry lakes, streams and ski resorts
Diminished hydro-electric production and costs for alternative fuels
Drinking water costs can increase

Environmental Impacts

Loss of habitat for wildlife and fish
Increase in disease and mortality in wildlife and fish
Wildlife migration
Lower water levels in streams, lakes and reservoirs
Increased wildfire frequency and impacts
Soil erosion

Social Impacts

Conflicts over water use
Reduced quality of life
Population migration
Health issues due to stress
Threats to safety due to increased fires
Loss of recreational activities

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