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How Does a Drought Impact Our Lakes?

Here in Nebraska, we've been experiencing a drought. About 95 percent of the area is experiencing a moderate drought. You may think the only effect a drought has on our lakes is that the water level is lower than normal. While this is true, there are far more things that affect us and our ecosystems.

Reduced Water Levels

The first and most obvious effect is reduced water levels. Sure we need high enough water levels to go boating and all the fun things you can do on the water. But more importantly, lower water levels can affect the fish in lakes. They need water to swim in so that they're able to survive.

Risk of Waterborne Diseases

People who engage in water-related recreational activities during the time period of a drought may be at increased risk for waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases are caused by bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants such as chemicals and heavy metals. You can catch these waterborne diseases by breathing it in, accidentally swallowing water and more.

Land Subsidence

A drought can cause our lakes and rivers to narrow/get smaller. This happens when the land is abnormally dry. When there is no water in the land, the land will begin to rub together and can fall into slopes or sink holes. Ultimately over the years, major bodies of water continue to shrink.

Effects on Our Ecosystems

Major droughts have a huge impact on our fish in lakes. Less water makes it so they have less of a place to live. They then have to compete more to survive for food. Less water means higher water temperature, not all fish can survive when the water gets too warm for a long period of time.

There is a cause and effect to many things in our world. We must stay informed and read up on what we can do to do our part to continue to make our world a thriving place.


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