Get Ready for Drought
Drought is any shortage of water that causes related complications. From 2007 through the first part of 2009, Georgia faced one of the most severe droughts in history. Our rivers and reservoirs were at record lows, and many of our communities faced water shortages that could challenge their ability to meet water supply needs.
Prepare for Drought by Conserving Water
- Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. You’ll save water and energy.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. Filling the bathtub uses about 50 gallons of water; a shower uses about 20 gallons.
- Shorten your shower to five minutes.
- Install a water-saving showerhead that uses 2.5 gallons/minute.
- Think before you flush. Every eliminated flush can save between two and seven gallons of water.
- Fix leaking faucets and toilets. Test for a leaking toilet by putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Wait a few minutes, then look in the bowl. If the food coloring has made its way there, you have a leak.
- Turn off lights and cut the air conditioner back when not at home. Energy is produced using large volumes of water. Reducing energy demands can reduce the water needed to produce that energy.
- Prepare food efficiently. Speed clean food by using a vegetable brush. Spray water in short bursts.
- Defrost sensibly and don’t use running water. Defrost foods overnight in the refrigerator instead. Use the microwave or put wrapped food in a bowl of cold water.
- Reduce dishwashing and limit dishwasher use to full loads. Use a rubber spatula to scrape dishes clean to limit pre-rinse. Soak really dirty pans or dishes for speedier washing.
- Reuse clean household water. Collect shower water or water used to boil vegetables. Use it to water houseplants.
- Avoid using your garbage disposal. Compost leftovers fruits and vegetables.
- Use a glass for rinse water when brushing teeth or shaving instead of letting the faucet run. An electric razor also saves water.
- Install a low-flow toilet. Low-flow toilets need only 1.6 gallons per flush, saving thousands of gallons per year. Unlike earlier models, low flow toilets available today receive high marks from consumers for overall performance.
Make a Drought Plan
- Make a Ready kit. Experts recommend all kits include one gallon of water, per person, per day for every member of the family.
- Stay hydrated by drinking eight to 12 glasses of water a day.
- In an emergency, other sources of water may need to be used, such as your hot water tank. Further treatment of this water will be necessary.
- Hot water tank – be sure gas or electricity is off, and drain the water from the valve near the bottom of the tank. Do not turn on the gas or electricity while the tank is empty. NOTE: Alternative sources may have a bad odor and taste, and may also carry disease-causing micro-organisms. All water of uncertain purity should be purified before using for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. Boiling or sanitizing will kill most bacteria, but will not remove other contaminate such as heavy metals and other chemicals.
- Follow your local water use restrictions. The most important thing you can during times of drought is to follow your local water municipalities’ current water restrictions. You can even get ahead of the curve and begin to conserve before restrictions are needed.
- Contact your local water authority or utility district for information specific to your area.
- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest information and follow “boil water advisory” guidelines and other instructions when they are issued.