Among the natural disasters which struck the world last year there was drought which caused serious water crises in many countries.
Europe suffered the most serious damage by drought last year.
Two thirds of the continent sustained damage by the worst drought in 500 years.
Water transport and electricity production were disrupted and crop yields decreased owing to scarce moisture of soil in many countries.
In August, the UK government declared eight regions as those affected by drought for their precipitation and major river and groundwater discharge.
And it appealed to families to decrease their quantity of water consumption as much as possible and even not to wash their hair every day.
The Netherlands announced water shortage for the persistent drought and Italy declared a state of emergency as it was hit by the worst drought in 70 years.
The unprecedented drought caused the lowering of the water levels of rivers and reservoirs which represent Europe including the Thames in the UK, the Rhine in Germany and the Po in Italy and thus even their beds have been revealed here and there.
In the same month the water level of the Rhine, the most important transport route of Germany, radically fell, adversely affecting river transport.
At that time, the average water level of the river was 2 metres but it decreased to 28cm in some sections.
The severe drought greatly hampered agricultural production, resulting in food crisis in many countries.
In not a few countries it became impossible to plant crops as the ground cleaved and farmlands became waste.
In the countries in the Horn of Africa, 20 million people underwent a food crisis as agricultural production drastically decreased due to the severe drought persisting for several years.
The World Food Programme expressed concern over the fact that if the region has no rain and is given no assistance, a more serious crisis may arise there.
It not only shows that damage by drought brings about no less catastrophic consequences to the life of people than that by flood but also gives serious lessons.
The first lesson is that great efforts should be put in to secure new sources of water as the abnormal weather grows more serious as the days go by.
Efforts have been made worldwide to change sea water and sewage into new sources of water by relying on advanced science and technology including those of desalination and sewage treatment in order to stably secure clean water resources.
And underground reservoirs are under construction to make effective use of groundwater.
Afforestation is winning most favourable comment in securing water resources because of forest’s water-storing capacity.
The second lesson is that it is necessary to take it as a fait accompli that the world is affected by drought every year, to raise the consciousness of people on water saving so as to save water as much as possible and to make sure that the agricultural sector plants crops and plant species highly resistant to drought and introduces water drop irrigation and other water-saving farming methods.
When efforts are made methodologically to solve the water problem everywhere to suit their actual conditions, it will be possible to successfully cope with any severe drought.