The world either has too much water, too little water, or polluted water. While many regions have flooding, some areas of the United States, Australia, India, and others are experiencing severe droughts. Due to global warming, many rivers and lakes are drying up. Glaciers are melting at alarming rates. Many communities have severe drought conditions, leading to water shortages, forest fires, ruined food crops, and starvation. Water conservation is imperative to the world communities. With the world population increasing, water consumption must be regulated, reused, and conserved.
Contributing Factors to Drought Situations
Oceanic and atmospheric weather cycles contribute to drought conditions. When weather cycles such as the El NiÃ±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occur, the result is drought and flooding. El NiÃ±o is unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, 2009)).
Wind, sun, dust, and global warming also impact drought. Areas where rainfall fluctuates widely are aware of drought conditions and should have emergency water mitigation plans in place. If the area is agricultural or livestock farming, it is critical to prepare for periods of drought. Plans should include water reservoirs, mandatory water restrictions, alternative water supplies, and water allocation.
Industry, businesses, and homes may be wasting water, whether by illegal dumping polluted water into rivers and streams, leaking water pipes, or letting water run insistently. Water conveyances and storage ponds may be inadequately lined or constructed and may leak. Monitoring aqueducts and storage pond linings for leakage will ensure that water is not wasted when needed.
Conserving water can improve the resources and supply of water for an emergency drought situation. Operating costs drop with water conservation.
Sustainability Strategies and Solutions
Time may be on people’s side, as some drought conditions develop over a long period allowing foresighted mitigation and preparedness. Take into consideration historical data of the area of concern; laws, regulations, and the local community’s Water Conservation Board (WCB) plans in-place; and identify global areas’ plans that have been proven to work during drought conditions, known as Best Management Practices (BMPs); and develop a community mitigation plan.
Scientists are researching ways to limit the damage to agriculture such as crops that can survive in droughts. Most communities and governments are trying to do their part to reduce the drastic effects of drought. Research local communities’ and other comparable areas’ BMPs and mitigation plans.
Monitoring water usage and working conveyances of water supplies helps to ensure that water is not wasted. Reusing, recycling, and desalinizing non-potable water is used for landscaping.
Plans should be in place to monitor regions experiencing the effects of a drought, distribution of information of important facts, and a course of action for drought conditions. Many communities use conservation, allocation, and reuse to ensure sustainability.
Some drought mitigation strategies and solutions are:
â€¢ Water tank-barrels to catch and store rain-snow fall
â€¢ Recycled gray water that is from indoor water, such as shower water, rinsing dishes, etc. to reuse for watering gardens-house plants
â€¢ Agriculture and livestock farming can construct ponds to sustain water
â€¢ Monitor ponds-conveyances to ensure there is no leakage; repair leaks
â€¢ Develop and maintain safe wells
â€¢ Use environmentally safe water desalination technology
â€¢ Recycle and clean water to reuse
â€¢ Use stonewalls and trenches to contain water
â€¢ Plant drought resistant crops, trees, and plants
â€¢ Research cloud seeding to induce rain
â€¢ Ensure residential plumbing does not leak; repair leaks
â€¢ Use government subsidies and grants for water tanks, pipe maintenance, and plumbing and related fixtures
Researching and using communities’ BMPs that have worked in the past will benefit local communities, and the world. Conserving, reusing, and regulating water will ensure that there is a healthy water supply in times of drought. Educating the population about conserving water and government grants-subsidies to improve water storage will help save water for drought conditions.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (2009.) NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Retrieved November 14, 2009 from http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/drought_assessment.shtml