The first step that we can take to mitigate drought is to understand drought and our environment. By learning about drought on this website, you have already taken a step to reduce your risk to drought. It is very important that we all understand drought and also very important that we understand the environment where we live.
Just like you have certain characteristics, such as your hair color or even foods you like, the environment where you live also has characteristics. The climate where you live can be thought of as a characteristic of your environment. Other characteristics of your environment might be whether there are forests or grasslands, or whether you live in the mountains or by a river or ocean. The characteristics of your environment hold clues about how often you might expect to experience drought, what the impacts of drought would be, and steps you and your community can take to protect yourselves and your environment from drought.
Here are a few clues to help you start finding information about drought and your environment.
Is Your Region or City Experiencing Drought?
The U.S. Drought Monitor identifies which areas of the United States are experiencing drought conditions and how severe the conditions are. Check out the map to see whether your area is experiencing drought right now.
The Drought Atlas is a great tool to help you find out how often drought has occurred in your area. Some areas are more likely to have droughts, or to have droughts that last for longer periods of time, than other areas. Take a look at the Drought Atlas to check up on your area.
Knowing how often drought has occurred in your area can help you understand how likely it is that a drought will occur in your area in the future. Scientists study these patterns and make forecasts of where and when drought might happen. Check out the Climate Prediction Center website to find the drought outlook for your area.
What Are the Impacts of Drought in Your Area?
If you know what impacts drought is having on your community and your environment, you can take steps that will help protect you from drought. The Drought Impact Reporter is a tool that shows drought impacts across the United States. You can use it to see past and present impacts, and you can also send us information about how drought is affecting your community or environment. We’d love to hear from you!
Where Does Your Water Come From?
When you turn on the faucet in your house, water comes streaming out. Do you know where that water comes from, before it comes through the pipes in your house? The answer to that question depends on where you live. It is very important to know where your water comes from to understand how drought might put your water supply at risk. Let’s take a quick look at some water sources.
Many people get their water from wells dug deep (or sometimes not so deep) into the ground. People who live in rural areas often have their own wells, which deliver water to their house or farm only. Some towns and cities also have groundwater wells that supply water to the people and businesses in the city.
People who do not get their water from groundwater most likely get water from rivers or large lakes called reservoirs. The water is then pumped into towns and cities using pipes, canals, or other devices.
Many great resources are available to help you learn more about water sources. You can also ask your parents or check your city or county website to find out where your water comes from. Our list of resources can help you get started.
Tell Others about Your Drought Research
Some students have made their own drought websites. You can do the same thing to describe drought, especially in your region. You can also point out projects to your teachers that they can use in the classroom to help others learn about drought.
Check out the list of resources linked on our site to learn more about drought, water, and your environment.