Droughts are a major hazard to both natural and human-dominated environments and those, especially of long duration and high intensity, can be highly damaging and leave long-lasting effects. This book describes the climatic conditions that give rise to droughts, and their various forms and chief attributes. Past droughts are described including those that had severe impacts on human societies. As a disturbance, droughts can be thought of as ramps in that they usually build slowly and take time to become evident. As precipitation is reduced, flows from catchments into aquatic systems decline. As water declines in water bodies, ecological processes are changed and the biota can be drastically reduced, though species and populations may survive by using refuges.