What is a drought?
A drought is a period of abnormally dry weather that persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance, causing, for example, crop damage and shortages in the water supply.
The lack of adequate precipitation, either rain or snow, can cause reduced soil moisture or groundwater, diminished streamflow, crop damage, and a general water shortage.
While often described as a “creeping disaster,” drought leaves a trail of destruction as dangerous and deadly as any other extreme weather event. In fact, drought has affected more people around the world in the past four decades than any other type of natural disaster.
How to prepare for drought?
The best way to prepare for a drought is to conserve water. Make conserving water a part of your daily life.
Before a Drought
1. Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For example, use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
2. Fix dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 10.220 liters of water a year.
3. Check all plumbing for leaks and have any leaks repaired by a plumber.
4. Install an instant hot water heater on your sink.
5. Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
6. Install a water-softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes. Turn the softener off while on vacation.
7. Choose appliances that are more energy and water-efficient.
8. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees. Once established, your plants won't need as much watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
9. Don't buy water toys that require a constant stream of water.
10. Don't install ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use re-circulated water.
11. Consider rainwater harvesting where practical.
1. Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models. Note: In many areas, low-volume units are required by law in many countries.
2. Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed to flush. Place a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the tank to displace toilet flow. Make sure it does not interfere with the operating parts.
3. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
1. Instead of using the garbage disposal, throw food in the garbage or start a compost pile to dispose it.
1. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas. Repair sprinklers that spray a fine mist.
2. Raise the lawnmower blade to at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper and holds soil moisture.
3. Plant drought-resistant lawn seed. Reduce or eliminate lawn areas that are not used frequently.
4. Don't over-fertilize your lawn. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
5. Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers. Turn irrigation down in fall and off in winter. Water manually in winter only if needed.
6. Use mulch around trees and plants to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with plants for water.
1. Install a new water-saving pool filter. A single backflushing with a traditional filter uses 680 to 950 liters of water.
2. Cover pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
During a Drought
Always observe state and local restrictions on water use during a drought. Contact your state or local government for current information and suggestions.
1. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
2. Take short showers instead of baths. Turn on the water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.
3. Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving.
4. Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants.
1. Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Use the "light wash" feature to use less water.
2. Hand wash dishes by filling two containers - one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.
3. Clean vegetables in a pan filled with water rather than running water from the tap.
4. Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.
5.Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.
6. Don't rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, just remove large particles of food.
7. Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
1. Operate clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.
1. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
2. If you wash your own car, use a shut-off nozzle that can be adjusted down to a fine spray on your hose.
1. Avoid overwatering your lawn and water only when needed.
2. A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need 2.5 centimeters of water per week.
3. Check the soil moisture levels with a soil probe, spade, or large screwdriver. You don't need to water if the soil is still moist. If your grass springs back when you step on it, it doesn't need water yet.
4. If your lawn does require watering, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.
5. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
6. Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and other debris from your driveway or sidewalk.
7. In extreme drought, allow lawns to die in favor of preserving trees and large shrubs.