Extremes of water, whether through scarcity or abundance, have challenged mankind throughout history. Technologically advanced as we are, we still experience catastrophic loses of human life, livelihoods and property as a result of floods and droughts every year.
Nevertheless, there is much that can be done to mitigate the effects of floods and droughts; and particularly to help protect the poorest and most vulnerable.
Floods and droughts occur within natural cycles. For all the misery they can cause, they can be ecologically important, and even create livelihood opportunities. Farmers can make use of extra water for spate irrigation. Flooded land can create opportunities for fishing. There are perhaps few positive impacts from droughts, but they may play a role in natural disease control and can create demand for water storage infrastructure.