Nearly every part of our country experiences periods of reduced rainfall. If we plan for drought, then we can enjoy the benefits of normal or rainy years and not get caught unprepared in dry years.
Always observe state and local restrictions on water use during a drought. If restricted, for example, do not water your lawn, wash your car, or other non-essential uses, to help ensure there is enough water for essential uses.
Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For example, use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.
Check all plumbing for leaks and have any leaks repaired by a plumber.
Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors. Install low flush toilets.
Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees. Once established, plants adapted to your local climate do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Small plants require less water to become established. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
Avoid installing ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use re-circulated water.
Consider rainwater harvesting where practical.
Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system, and holds soil moisture.
Use public swimming pools to cut down on water usage to avoid refilling or topping of home swimming pools during hot conditions.
Avoid taking baths—take short showers—turn on water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.
Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
Operate automatic clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.