A drought is a period of abnormally dry weather that persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance. This imbalance can cause crop damage and shortages in the water supply. The severity of a drought depends on the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area. Drought can be defined four ways:
Meteorological Drought—when an area gets less precipitation than normal. Due to climatic differences, what is considered a drought in one location may not be a drought in another location.
Agricultural Drought—when the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.
Hydrological Drought—when the surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
Socioeconomic drought —when water supply is unable to meet human and environmental needs can upset the balance between supply and demand.
In communities where a drought has been declared, local and state officials may recommend water conservation measures to reduce water use. Water restrictions can affect not only members of the agricultural communities – but all individuals with water privileges. For more information on water recommendations or restrictions, please contact your local water authorities.
Using water efficiently plays an important role in ensuring that the world has a consistently adequate water supply. It is up to each individual to use water wisely, in order to play an active role in curbing water waste. Due to climate variability, occurrences of drought conditions are likely to increase – so it is important to implement water saving methods, technologies, and practices at all times.
*This information was adapted from The American Red Cross drought preparedness website.