HKDSE Geography/E2/Causes of Droughts

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The causes of droughts include human factors and physical factors.

Human Factors

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  • The rapid increase in population on North China has led to overpopulation. This has worsened overcutting (over-devegetation), overcultivation and overgrazing, exhausting the reserves of water.
  • Poor water conservation awareness has led to the wastage of water for agricultural and domestic purposes.
  • Lenient laws have led to an increase in water pollution by industries such as dyeing and by agrochemicals, reducing the amount of usable water.
  • The damming of the Huang He and the building of reservoirs have led to a decrease in the discharge of the Huang He and thus more droughts.
  • Water resources management is poor in the Huang He with no central body for managing the water resources. The rivers are managed by local governments which focus on the needs of the local population.

Physical Factors

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  • The area lacks water in the first place (see the chapters before on rainfall).
  • Late summer monsoon, weak summer monsoon and early winter monsoon can all lead to drought.
  • Hot winds from the Gobi Desert contribute to drought as well. They increase the evaporation rate and thus soil moisture loss. High summer temperature, along with low rainfall, contributes to drought.