Drought Update: 3 Resources and Tips to Help Beat the Heat

Spring 2016 brought some extreme rainfall to many areas of the U.S., but despite this, many regions remain under drought conditions. According to their drought website, California in particular has areas now in their sixth year of drought conditions.

If you live in area that is experiencing drought conditions it’s important to be equipped with the right information to protect your home and lawn. Here are a few resources and tips that will help you make sound choices if you live in a dry area.

1. Your first stop if you live in a drought-prone area or suspect conditions are becoming unnaturally dry is the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) at www.drought.gov. There you’ll find the most current maps and outlook of areas in danger of, or already in, a drought, including wildfire risk hotspots. There is even a widget that gives current conditions by zip code. Go deeper into the site and you’ll find information on the impacts drought has on such things as agriculture, temperature and water supply.

2. Check out the Department of Homeland Security’s drought page at Ready.gov. You’ll find sections for how to prepare for a drought and what to do during existing drought conditions. Most are good habits to begin with, but here are a few simple drought preparedness tips to adopt before dry conditions hit:

  • Choose energy and water efficient appliances.
  • Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses and plants.
  • Mulch planting beds to retain moisture (also inhibits weed growth).
  • Choose energy and water efficient appliances

And if you’re already in drought conditions:

  • Store drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap until it cools.
  • In the shower, catch excess water in a bucket for watering plants.
  • Clean veggies in a pan of water rather than under a running tap.
  • Avoid watering your lawn too often. Most of the year lawns only need one inch of water per week.

3. If your livelihood depends on regular rainfall (farmers, ranchers, etc.) and drought is having an impact on your business, you may qualify for assistance from the USDA—look at its Drought Programs and Assistance page for details.

For more tips specifically aimed toward lawn care and drought conditions, you can refer to our previous posts, “How to Care for Grass During Drought,” and “Defeating the Drought: Dry Weather Lawn Care Tips.”

With a little careful reading and some changes in habit, you can still have a good-looking yard throughout the year—and enough water available for all the other needs in your life.

Dried out lawn