You can prepare for potential hazards by having a plan in place to deal with the anticipated impacts of an event. Having your plan and emergency kit prepared in advance is the best way to support your family and pets. You may need to Shelter in Place or “hunker down” in your home for at least 72 hours (3 days) without needing to leave for supplies. Plan to be without power in many hazards that could occur.
Droughts are prolonged periods of less-than-average rainfall. They can last from several weeks to years, causing significant hardship due to lack of water for drinking, cleaning, and watering crops. If you live in a drought-prone area, it will help if you take a few measures to ensure that you and your community are as prepared as possible if a drought hits.
- Put a water rationing plan in place in the event of a water shortage.
- Serious droughts can result in water shortages that could last weeks or months. With proper rationing and conservation, however, you and your household can hold out for several weeks on stored drinking water. If you live in a drought-prone area, it would be a good idea to have a plan in place for what you'll do in the event of a drought. By drawing up a plan, you and your family can be prepared for when a drought does hit.
- Humans require about 2 litres of water daily just to live. Considering water usage for sanitation, you should plan on each person in your household using approximately 4 litres of water per day. Keep this figure in mind when stocking or gathering water.
- Certain people require more water than others. Usually, children, nursing mothers, and people with chronic illnesses need more than 2 litres a day.
- Keep extra water stocked in case of a medical emergency. If someone gets sick or injured, they'll need to drink more to stay hydrated. You also will need water to clean any wounds.
- Make sure everyone in your house knows the limits on water usage in the event of a drought.
- If a situation gets dire and drinking water is getting scarce, don't ration to the point of dehydration. Drink what you need to stay alive.
- Install a rain catch system. Thousands of litres of water fall on your property every year. Take advantage of this by harvesting some of it. You can stock this rainwater for drought conditions by using it to water your lawn and cleaning. Installing one is easy. Get a large drum (55 gallons is usually standard) from a hardware store. Get several if you plan on storing the water. Place the drum under a downspout gutter and run the gutter into the drum. If you don't have gutters on your house, place the drum under a section of your roof where water usually runs off.
- Rainwater must be thoroughly filtered before drinking. You should generally only drink it in an emergency situation after boiling for three-five minutes.
Conserving Water in Your Household
- Check for and repair any leaks in your home. Leaky pipes can waste thousands of gallons of water per year. Thoroughly check your home for any leaks and repair them to increase your preparedness for a drought.
- Check the faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms. Also look at the handles of faucets, since water can escape here as well.
- Check your toilet to make sure no water is escaping from the back of the tank into the bowl. Add food colouring to the tank. Don't flush and check back in 30 minutes. If there is colour in the bowl, you have a leaky seal in the tank and should get it repaired.
- Put a large pop bottle in the toilet tank to use less water each flush or install a low-flush toilet to conserve water year-round.
- Take a reading of your water meter. Then wait 30 minutes without using any water and check it again. If there is any difference, you have a leak somewhere. If you can't locate it, call a plumber to investigate.
- Install water-efficient appliances. Household appliances often use much more water than they have to. Upgrade certain appliances in your home to water-efficient versions to save money and conserve water in the event of a drought.
- Install a low-flow showerhead to save water while you shower.
- Turn water off when not in use. It is a bad habit to keep the faucet running when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Reuse Water That Would Have Been Wasted
There are numerous ways that household water gets wasted. Instead of letting water flow down the drain, collect it and put it to better use.
- Running the shower or faucet, the water can take a few seconds to minutes to warm up. During this time water is running down the drain. Place a bucket in the sink or shower when you do this, then use that water for plants so you don't have to use the hose.
- Water your lawn sparingly, if at all. Over-watering your lawn is a big waste of water.