How To Survive in a Drought

Did you know that the number of major drought events experienced around the world from 1980 to 2014 is 419? How to Survive a Drought in times of Global Warming and Climate Change. In fact, more people worldwide are surviving a drought now more than ever. During the same duration, the total number of people affected by drought was 1.5 billion where more than 658, 565 people have been killed by the effects of drought. When it comes to economic damage per year, the total amount lost was $2.6 billion and for the duration between 1980 to 2014, the economic damage was $87 billion. According to renowned drought experts and meteorologists, drought is more than the lack of precipitation and high temperatures. It can also be defined by overpopulation and overuse of available natural resources. As a result, drought can affect any climate system in the world given time. According to the National Climatic Data Center, drought is the second weather-related phenomena after hurricanes to cause severe economic impact not only in the US but around the world. Hurricanes are much easier to detect and identify. Using weather satellites and weather monitoring equipment on the ground, weather experts can identify the formation of hurricanes early enough. That is not all. They can chart the path which the hurricane will take.

Top 10 Countries Affected by Drought

Drought is tougher to detect. It has severe repercussions which include famine, starvation, and malnutrition. According to Statistic Brain, these are the top 10 drought disasters in the world:
  1. Cuba (2015) – affected 1 million people
  2. India (2015) – affected 425 million people
  3. India (2002) – affected 300 million people
  4. India (1987) – affected 300 million people
  5. India (1982) – affected 100 million people
  6. China (1994) – affected 82 million people
  7. China (2002) – affected 60 million people
  8. India (1988) – affected 49 million people
  9. Iran (1999) – affected 37 million people
  10. Kenya (1999) – affected 23 million people
Sadly, world leaders around the world together with their citizens are yet to grasp the impact of drought. Majority of nations seek help when faced with such a calamity but when its effects start to fade, everything is forgotten. No water harvesting techniques are implemented, no tree planting policies are established, no proper farming techniques are taught to farmers and no drought management policies are set in place. Everyone just sits back and waits for the next disaster.

Surviving a Drought

It seems like an impossible task to survive a drought. Once the state of mind is correct we will give you some tips on How to Survive a Drought.

Preparing For Drought – Where To Start

As said earlier, drought is a prolonged period of reduced or no rains which has severe repercussions such as famine and malnutrition. The impact of drought may span over a couple of months and if no mitigation policies are put in place, chances are the number of people affected will increase. As an individual in a community, it is important to know where to start when it comes to drought preparedness. In this section, we are going to teach you ways of conserving water and preparing yourself for drought.

Understanding drought and its effects

Apart from learning the definition of drought, it is vital to have a better understanding of how it affects your community, how it affects the crops, livestock, cattle market cycles and water. Having a better understanding of how drought impacts everything and everyone will surely improve the bottom line.

To learn more about drought, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the difference between drought and a short-term dry spell?
  2. How is drought measured?

How can I monitor and forecast drought?

  1. Very Important How does drought affect livestock nutrition?
  2. How do I know when my area is affected by drought?
  3. How is my business affected by drought?
Asking the above questions and more will help you better understand what drought is and why it’s important to prepare yourself early to avoid the worst disaster.

Work as a Community is Easier During a Drought

We all have a part to play when it comes to mitigating the effects of drought. Gathering all available resources and working together has better results than going it alone. As a team, you can organize workshops where all community members are invited. This is very important especially if the community is actively involved in farming and livestock keeping (ranching). At the workshop, the community members can learn more about soil health, how to manage pasture and ranches. Furthermore, the presentation can cover drought risk management and how to overcome it. As a community, you can take the workshop further by creating a web series. Since the web series will be available online, community members can access it for generations to come. Adding content to the web series will be much easier too. Additional content to include drought planning techniques – planning, monitoring, setting critical dates, assessing drought impacts and assessing the financial impact of drought management.

Take Inventory Look at Your Resources to Take on the Drought

As a community, it is important to take inventory of the available resources. What resources do you have? Start by tracking natural resources like rivers, springs, and streams. Other resources to take inventory of include livestock, personnel, and finances. With the inventory at hand, you can finally come up with a sound drought management plan. It is important to understand that the process of taking inventory should be continuous. Doing so will enable the community to know how susceptible their farms and livestock are to drought and its repercussions. Furthermore, it allows the community to know how drought begins and progresses.

Monitoring Drought Will Give a Better Idea Of Surviving a Drought

As said earlier, it is not easy to identify the onset of a drought. This does not mean that as a community, you cannot set up your own drought monitoring center. To monitor drought, there are several indicators you have to keep track of. They include:
  • Rainfall
  • Snowpack
  • Streamflow and others
Currently, researchers have made available a number of tools that not only help to define the onset of a drought but its severity and probably its end. The tools used include:
  • Palmer Drought Severity Index – It allows categorization of different levels of dryness and wetness. Calculations are based on temperature and precipitation data.
  • Crop Moisture Index –Helps to check for weekly moisture supply that affects crops. This is not a long-term drought monitoring tool
  • Standard Precipitation Index – Helps to reveal the probability of precipitation compared to actual precipitation over a certain time period.

Implementing a sound plan that maximizes the health of Vegetables

Now that you have set an active drought monitoring center, it’s time to implement a sound plan that not only maximizes the health of your ranch but productivity too. Setting up health systems enables the community to tolerate drought. In your drought management plan, it is wise to include the like hood of periodic drought. Not only will this affect the overall ranch plan but your grazing strategy too. If the plan is implemented well, it will you ensure the continuity of your family and that of your animals, crops and the community too.

Top 3 Water Harvesting Methods

During rainy periods we need to have large water tanks to save all rainwater from the roof space. This water can be used for crops or whatever.

Rainwater harvesting

This is a practice whereby rainwater is collected from different roofing surfaces using conduits or gutters. The water is directed to a storage tank and can be used for irrigation, toilet flushing, laundry and urinals among others. Rain Water Harvesting is simple however it is a huge step to surviving a drought. The conveyance system can also be upgraded to include a pump, fixtures, and water treatment system. Water treatment systems help to make rainwater safe since it’s polluted with contaminants like arsenic. When designing a rainwater harvesting system, it’s wise to consider regulations and codes. Also a great start in surviving a drought.

Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting Include:

  • Enables the conservation of water for use during dry spells
  • Lowers the costs associated with the supply of treated council water
  • Prevents channel erosion and flooding

Solar Stills

Solar stills help in the harvesting of water. They can also be used to purify water too. The device is designed to absorb heat from the sun and evaporate the water allowing purified water to be collected in a separate container while contaminants remain behind. Also called the solar vapor generator, it’s made from polystyrene foam and porous hydrophilic paper that is coated in carbon black. Basically, the carbon black coating helps to absorb the rays of the sun which in turn heat the body water and evaporate it. The distilled water is collected in a different container for later use.

Benefits of solar stills

  • Provides ready access to purified water
  • Saves you on energy costs
  • Easy to build.

Grey Water Harvesting

This is a smart water harvesting method where gently used water from showers, tubs, washing machines and the kitchen sink is repurposed for other uses. Keep in mind that this water has not come into contact with any fecal matter. Despite this, it may contain traces of dirt, grease, food, hair, and soap among other cleaning products. In fact, Grey Water Harvesting is one of the best first steps to take in Surviving a drought. While the water may appear dirty, it can be recycled and used for irrigation. By using greywater in irrigation, it helps to connect people in the urban area with their backyard gardens. To ensure that the water is safe for use in irrigation, it is highly advisable to use plant friendly products. One of the first factors in surviving a drought.

Benefits of Grey Water Harvesting Include:

  • Allows the reuse of “dirty” water
  • Enables the plants to benefit from nutrients
  • Keeps greywater from the sewer system

Water Purification Techniques

When it comes to surviving a drought, it is important to know more about modern water purification techniques that ensure available harvested water is safe to drink. Here are available solutions:

Lifestraw Great Investment In How To Survive a Drought

If you love backpacking, hiking, traveling and camping, then ensure LifeStraw is your companion. Just as its name suggests, it is a portable straw-styled filter that has the ability to filter 4,000 liters of contaminated water. As a result, it turns the contaminated drinking water into safe drinking water immediately. Using LifeStraw, you can drink safely from available rivers, streams, lakes or from available containers. Weighing 2 ounces (57 grams) only, it requires no electric power to function. That includes batteries too. It's BPA free which means the water you drink will not be contaminated with chemicals. Thanks to its design, it is able to remove 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa. As a result, it helps to keep you safe from diseases like bilharzia, cholera, and typhoid among others. Surviving a drought is simple as long as you have planned ahead.

Steripen Perfect For Surviving A Drought

This is another modern water filtration system that utilizes ultraviolet to treat available water making it safe to drink. Just like LifeStraw, Steripen is portable which means it’s perfect for use when traveling, as a home emergency kit and for other outdoor recreation activities. To use Steripen, filter the water first. Turn on the gadget and start stirring the water. When the indicator light turns green, it means the water is now safe to drink. Since Steripen uses UV to treat water, it is able to kill 99.99% of microorganisms found in water. As a result, it keeps you safe from water-borne diseases.

Boiling Water

This is an age-old method of disinfecting water by bringing it to its boiling point. As you already know, the majority of microorganisms cannot withstand high temperatures. This was proven by Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist, and chemist who developed the pasteurization process commonly used in milk processing. Boiling does not affect the taste of water and it kills the microorganisms found in water through a single process. When boiling water, it is important to ensure that the water is covered. This prevents contaminants in the air from polluting the water. The same should be practiced when storing the water.

Purification Tablets

This is a lightweight water treatment solution whereby homeowners buy water purification tablets from the nearest pharmacy and use them to treat water. It is quite common to find iodine-free tablets which make them safe for use for adults and children. This includes pregnant women too. The tablets are formulated to rapidly dissolve in water. They can be used over the long term without any adverse effects to the users. They are perfect for people living in a remote location; those affected by drought and must store water for a long time. Furthermore, they can be used by hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Gypsy filter

During a drought, the only source of water you may come across is a muddy pool or stagnant water. What you ought to know is that it’s possible to filter the water at the source making it safe to drink. The right solution to use is a Gypsy Filter. This method calls for the digging of a separate hole beside the stagnant water. The hole is called a seep and should be large enough to hold a few liters or gallons of water. To ensure success, it should be a foot away from the stagnant water. Once you are done, water will start flowing from the pool into the hole. Thanks to the layers of sediment, the water will be filtered. In fact, surviving a drought is quite simple as long as there is a plan.

Final Thoughts On Surviving a Drought

There you have it. The ultimate guide to surviving a drought. Not only are you able to monitor drought but you can harvest water and purify it. With these skills, you can survive any dry spell or drought affecting your area. Remember, continuous research and updates to your drought management plan are key to surviving and preventing the onset of future dry spells. Hopefully, this article will help with info on surviving a drought.