Arizona is especially sensitive to the adverse effects of drought. Water is scarce here even during wetter years, and population growth continues to increase our demand for water.
At any given time, usually one or more areas of the state are in a moderate to severe drought. We may not be able to control the weather, but through proper planning and preparedness, we can greatly reduce the severity of impacts.
Drought also creates environmental conditions that increase the risk of other hazards such as wildfire, flash flood, and landslides and debris flow.
You can help reduce Arizona’s drought vulnerability by practicing a low water-use lifestyle.
- Replace high water using plumbing and fixtures with low-flow fixtures.
- Conduct home water audits and leak detection. Fix leaking faucets and replace faulty fixtures.
- Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Use the "light wash" feature, if available, to use less water.
- Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.
- Operate automatic clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.
- Repair outdoor irrigation system leaks.
- Reset irrigation timers seasonally.
- Landscape with drought-tolerant/low water use plants.
- Comply with state and local water use ordinances.
Indoor Water Conservation Tips While in a Drought
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Avoid taking baths—take short showers instead—turn on water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.
- Hand wash dishes by filling two containers—one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.
- Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.
- Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave oven.
Outdoor Water Conservation Tips While in a Drought
- Reduce discretionary outdoor water uses (home car washing, pool refills, etc.).
- Implement water harvesting practices (rainwater capture).
- Use covers to reduce evaporation from pools.
- Divert pool back wash to landscaping rather than discharging into the street or alley.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- Avoid over watering your lawn and water only when needed
- If your lawn requires watering, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler. Avoid outdoor watering during hottest part of the day.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Water in several short sessions rather than one long one, in order for your lawn to better absorb moisture and avoid runoff.
- Avoid leaving sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours.
- Know the emergency plans for your area.
- Research additional information about drought, beginning with the following resources.