Drought is a long-lasting period of low precipitation (rainfall, snowfall or snowmelt) resulting in a shortage of water. When communities don't have enough water for drinking, sanitation and agriculture it can lead to food insecurity, the spread of disease, malnutrition and starvation, migration and economic losses. Drought can also have a negative impact on power generation, transportation and commercial or industrial needs in a country.

Do you know how to prepare for drought?

Learn about monthly, seasonal and long-term weather outlooks and what they might mean for your area. Understand the best weather conditions for different types of agriculture, as well as their water requirements. And find out about communication channels for early warning about drought in your community.

Participate in community water resource management—work with your neighbours and community to protect water catchment areas from deforestation, evaporation and contamination. Recycle irrigation water and improve the quality of irrigation canals and pipes to minimize waste. And minimize both indoor and outdoor usage of water.

Preserve and store food year round, including dry food, tinned food and grains that last for 3-12 months. Learn about good nutrition and plan basic food rations accordingly. And reduce loss of livestock by managing pastures and rangelands effectively, including planning de-stocking of animals before a crisis affects them seriously.

Do's and don'ts

Work with your neighbours to manage community resources
Ask your health care provider about drought-related health risks
Don't use sprinkler systems, instead use drip irrigation to prevent waste
Cultivate early maturing and drought-tolerant crops
Don't lay concrete, lay green driveways and water-permeable asphalt
Maintain all water-related infrastructure, such as pipes and storage, to prevent waste
Protect yourself from heat in your home