Best Practices Related to Drought

  • • Map the entire water supply system including surface water, groundwater, reservoirs, pipes and pumping systems, tunnels, aqueducts, wells, etc., determine where there are leaks and potential problems, make necessary repairs, and then use continued maintenance programs and determine if each of these segments of the system meet the appropriate criteria established at the state and federal level.
  • • Develop a comprehensive drought management and contingency plan which provides for the public health and safety of the population being served, protecting and minimizing impacts on economic activity while utilizing responses to at least four major stages of drought including: drought watch, the least severe, where conservation of public water supplies is started on a voluntary basis; drought warning, where water conservation is voluntarily intensified and local plans are implemented to decrease water usage; drought emergency, where the governor of a state orders mandatory restrictions on the use of water sources to protect public health and allow for essential uses; drought disaster, where the water usage is further restricted and the governor may ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency and provide federal funds.
  • • Use a water supply management strategy which involves monitoring current conditions; utilizing the best forecasting processes from the National Weather Service and others; communicating and coordinating with other agencies within the community and state to best utilize water resources; making necessary operational adjustments; curtailing water usage to various groups; and using alternate water supplies or emergency water supplies when necessary. (See endnote 3.)
  • • Build a sustainable network of drought communities with open lines of communication, where there are common interests and knowledge of common problems and solutions consisting of Best Practices.
  • • Develop guidance documents which can be used to resolve specific issues in a given water basin.
  • • Develop regulations for zoning, subdivisions, landscaping, grading, building, and water conservation which includes drought considerations. (See endnote 4.)
  • • Ensure that water and wastewater pumps and systems are working efficiently.
  • • Utilize recycled water for lawns and other plantings to reduce drinking water needs in a community.
  • • Evaluate all water use systems to determine if there are leaks and correct them.
  • • Upgrade and retrofit plumbing systems with new technologies to reduce water consumption.
  • • In new construction only use the most water efficient systems available.
  • • Assess, maintain, and repair existing irrigation systems and make sure they function as required.
  • • Use native plants which are accustomed to the local water conditions instead of plants which require substantial amounts of water.
  • • Educate the community about water usage and how to conserve. (See endnote 5.)
  • • Capture and utilize rainwater where appropriate.
  • • Use water-saving pool filters and cover pools and spas when not in use.
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