Water Conservation Tips Before a Drought

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Publishing Organisation:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • English
  • Drought
  • Heatwave
Disaster Management Phase


The best way to prepare for a drought is to conserve water.

Make conserving water a part of your daily life

Indoor Water Conservation Tips Before a Droughtk


  • 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.
  • Check all plumbing for leaks.
  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
  • Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
  • Install a water-softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes.
  • Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.


  • Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
  • Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed to flush
  • Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.


  • Instead of using the garbage disposal, throw food in the garbage or start a compost pile to dispose it.

Outdoor Water Conservation Tips Before a Drought


  • If you have a well pump, check it periodically.
  • Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.
  • Group plants together based on similar water needs.
  • Don't install ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use re-circulated water.
  • Consider rainwater harvesting where practical.
  • Contact your local water provider for information and assistance.


  • Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
  • Raise the lawn mower blade to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper and holds soil moisture.
  • Plant drought-resistant lawn seed.
  • Don't over-fertilize your lawn.
    • Applying fertilizer increases the need for water.
    • Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
  • Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs and flowers.
  • Water manually in fall and winter only if needed.
  • Use mulch around trees and plants to retain moisture in the soil.
    • Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with plants for water.
  • Check with your local water agency to see if there is a rebate available for the purchase of a smart controller.


  • Install a water-saving pool filter.
  • Cover pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.


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