If you live in an area with high risk of drought, prepare your home – and yourself – for drought. To get you started, we’ve gathered information to help you assess your water needs and create a plan to maintain your water supply. Read on to learn how to take the right precautions and prepare your home for drought.
What is a drought?
A drought occurs when there is insufficient rainfall – such as snow, sleet or rain – that leads to water shortages over a long period of time. While droughts occur naturally, human activities such as water use and management can also cause drought.
Where do droughts occur?
Actual drought conditions vary from region to region, and the determination of a drought is based on a region’s specific weather patterns. For example, six rainless days on the tropical island of Bali could be considered a drought for this region. While in Navajo County, AZ, spend 51% of the year in a drought.
Steps to Prepare Your Home for Drought
If you live in a drought-prone area, it is important that you take some of the following measures to ensure you and your community are prepared for drought.
1. Check and repair any water leaks in your home
Leaking pipes can waste thousands of gallons of water annually, and not only will this waste valuable water that you may need if a drought strikes, but it will also cause your water bill to go up. To avoid both of these problems, check all of the faucets and toilets in your kitchen and bathroom to make sure there are no leaks. You can also read your water meter, wait thirty minutes without using water, and check again to see if there is a difference. If there is a discrepancy, you likely have a leak somewhere and you may need to call a professional to investigate.
2. Install water-saving devices
Older devices often use more water than is needed. By upgrading certain devices in your home, you can reduce water consumption and therefore your water bill. Water-efficient versions of your equipment like low flow shower heads, low volume toilets, and highly efficient dishwashers or washing machines make all the difference when it comes to saving water and preparing for a drought.
3. Make a habit of not wasting water
The simplest thing you can do to avoid wastewater is to be aware of your actions. When washing the dishes, brushing your teeth and shaving, remember to turn off the tap if you are not going to use the water directly. It also allows you to reuse water that would normally have been wasted. One way to do this is to put a bucket in the shower to catch the water while you wait for it to warm up and then use that water to water your plants or the exteriors of your home to clean.
4. Try to collect rainwater
Rain brings thousands of gallons of water to your property every year, especially if you live in a rainy climate like live Seattle, WA, or Vancouver, BC. Take advantage of this free water by harvesting some of it in a rainwater barrel. You can use this rainwater during drought by using it to water your lawn and vegetation. It will also help you reduce your water bill. Place the barrel of your choice under a rain gutter to efficiently collect rainwater for later use.
5. Plant native drought tolerant plants in your garden
Try to plant native, drought tolerant vegetation. These plants are adapted to the climate so you don’t have to water them as often as other plants or flowers. When planting these native plants, be sure to use plenty of mulch to help keep moisture in the soil. Mulch helps keep out the weeds that can ultimately draw water out of your plants.
6. Implement smart irrigation to prepare your home for drought
A great way to monitor the watering of your lawn and plants is through smart watering. You can do this in two ways: you can drip irrigation with a hose with small holes and move it around the garden, or if you have a sprinkler system, install a smart controller that monitors the moisture in the soil and turns on sprinklers as needed. In this way you can save water more efficiently when it is dry.
Droughts in climate change are becoming more common, so it is important to be prepared for this, especially if you live in an area prone to drought. If there is a drought, be sure to pay attention to yours state and local restrictions on water usage so you can keep up to date with any new rules or regulations.