Drought is a lack of precipitation over an extended period that can cause a variety of consequences for people, animals and vegetation in the affected area. Drought can be part of normal climate variability in many climate zones. The duration of droughts can vary widely, with some developing quickly and lasting for only a matter of weeks, while other droughts can persist for months or years. Drought is typically related to other weather hazards, including wildfire, heat waves and hazardous air quality.
Preparing for a Drought
It’s important to be ready for a drought so you’re not caught unprepared. Some of the most important things you can do to prepare are:
- Pay close attention – listen to local radio stations and obey advisories and official instructions given by local authorities, particularly in extreme fire conditions, if mandatory evacuation orders are given. Following these directives could save your life and the lives of your family.
- Take safety precautions – just like other weather-related hazards, it’s crucial that you take steps to reduce the risks associated with a drought. Dry conditions often lead to brush fires or wildfires, so local officials may ask that you not burn brush or trash during dry conditions and comply with other safety precautions.
During a Drought
If a drought is occurring, you need to know the hazards you face and how to minimize those dangers. Some of the most important things you can do are:
- Reducing your household water usage – through actions such as:
- Identifying and fixing water leaks
- Choosing energy- and water-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures
- Taking shorter showers and turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving
- Running the washer less frequently, and only when you have a full load
- Paying attention to local water use restrictions
- Reducing your outdoor water usage – through actions such as:
- Consulting with the Ministry of Agriculture to select drought-tolerant plants and trees
- Watering your lawn less frequently and do so when the temperature is cooler in the early morning or late evening
After a Drought
- Maintain good water use practices to build resilience against drought and to be better prepared for the next time drought conditions affect the country.