This is the third and final part of the blog series "Drought and Urban Development. Click for Part I (on the U.S. Southwest) and Part II (North China Plain). Here we turn to Colombia, looking at the devastating drought that hit its Caribbean region last year.
[caption id="attachment_2626" align="alignnone" width="300"] Drought caused water shutoffs in Los Angeles (2009)[/caption]
2014 was the warmest year in recorded history and in some places, the driest. There are three major types of droughts—meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural—each with its own complex set of causes. Climate change plays a significant role in drought, through increased temperatures and disruptions to the hydrological cycle, but solely blaming climate change obscures the more tangible problem of water abuse and can become, according to activist Maude Barlow, “a catch-all for some governments to do nothing.” Unsustainable urban development and the productive processes that support it are contributing to and exacerbating the current droughts in the Southwestern United States, China’s Northern Plains, and Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
"Drought and Urban Development" is a three-part series that analyzes these three regions as case studies, focusing on one causal factor in each: residential sprawl, agriculture, and coal mining, respectively. In each, short-term profit-driven practices have caused the depletion and contamination of surface and groundwater. Unfortunately, the proposed solutions in each case are similarly myopic.
Part I: The U.S. Southwest