Over the past few months, the town of Londonderry has been monitoring the drought issue very closely. Although Londonderry is falling just below the drought line on the official drought monitor at the “abnormally dry” line, it is still important to take precautions when dealing with limited water sources.
As early as last year, members of the Town Council placed water restrictions on town residents when the threat of a drought became too big to ignore. For example, residents were asked to water their grass on specific days in order to conserve water. Thankfully for the town, the drought conditions improved and the water restrictions were lifted after a few months of continual monitoring.
Droughts can be a serious issue if not handled correctly or not met with the proper guidelines. According to the CDC, droughts can reduce air quality and compromise the health of people with certain conditions. Also, during a drought, the amount of dry soil and wildfires increase as well as the number of airborne particles such as pollen-making the lives of people with allergies to pollen much more difficult. The CDC also says that these particles can irritate airways and worsen respiratory illnesses such as asthma and even increase the risk of respiratory infections (bacterial pneumonia).
With town officials watching closely for any signs of drought, it is important to be prepared in advance. The official website for the Department of Homeland Security gives advice and tips on how to be prepared both before and during a drought.
Before a drought, always double check before you pour water down the drain as there may be another use for it. For example, you may use this water to water your plants or garden. You can also repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. According to Homeland Security, one drop per second wastes 2700 gallons of water per year. Choosing appliances that are more energy and water efficient can also help to save water in a crucial time.
If Londonderry suddenly becomes engulfed in a drought once again, you can take steps to ease the pain of limited water. Avoid flushing the toilet if it is unnecessary and dispose of tissues and paper products in the trash rather than the toilet. Try to avoid taking long baths and instead take short showers, only turning the water on to get wet and clean and once again to rinse off. Do not let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving to conserve the limited water supply. Another idea provided by Homeland Security is to place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering indoor and outdoor plants to keep them relatively healthy. Hand washing dishes also cuts back on running the dishwasher and using unnecessary gallons of water. Fill up two containers-one with soapy water and one with fresh water to rinse. If you must use the dishwasher, use the “light wash” feature when the washer is fully loaded to use as little water as possible to not risk using too much water.
With temperatures reaching the high 90s, drought conditions worsen and precautions may need to be taken sooner rather than later.
Town officials will continue to monitor this issue and keep the public informed if drought conditions get better or worse. In the meantime, these tips and tricks can help make life a bit easier if an emergency were to happen. For more information on what to do before and during a drought, you can visit www.ready.gov/drought. You can also visit the official Town of Londonderry website to be informed of the town’s current status on the drought monitor.