June 17 is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world's land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.
Droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, but increasingly so in developed nations too. In fact, forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population.
Key factors and considerations:
• Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts has risen 29%
• An estimated 55 million people globally are directly affected by droughts every year
• More than 2,3 billion people already face water stress
• By 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population
• More and more of us will be living in areas with extreme water shortages, including an estimated one in four children by 2040 (UNICEF)
• Between 1900 and 2019, droughts impacted 2,7 billion people in the world, and caused 11,7 million deaths
• No country is immune to drought (UN-Water 2021)
Drip irrigation systems can tackle both desertification and drought by applying precise amount of water to the root of each plant and eliminate runoffs which harm and eventually destroy the soil. Moreover, the overall water and nutrients used are significantly reduced making it the most sustainable irrigation method.
Source: The United Nations