Droughts are a normal part of the climate variability and occur after prolonged periods of low precipitation usually over a season or more. Drought causes a loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, increases risk of fire and affects the availability of water for agriculture and residential use. The economic impact of droughts can be far reaching. The cost of the 2012-2013 North Island drought is estimated to be, at minimum, $1.3 billion. 4722 Its impact varied from region to region. Human activity such as removing vegetation and damming rivers can increase the effects of drought. In drought prone 3836  areas climate change is expected to increase their intensity and frequency. More frequent droughts will likely to lead to water shortages, increase demand for irrigation and increase the risk of wild fires. 4723

Last updated at 10:51AM on February 8, 2018