Is Your Region Ready for a Drought?


Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service.

In January of 2002, 62 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties were under a drought watch or warning. Communities, counties, and state-level offices participated in meetings to discuss the issues and plans they would implement if conditions worsened. The meetings gave water providers and users an opportunity to begin thinking about the steps they would need to take if the drought worsened. Groups considered how they could continue to support the population and the economy if water supplies were reduced by various amounts, from 5% up to 50%.

Throughout 2002, counties implemented water conservation measures. Precipitation totals rose above normal in the late spring and the drought ended in most counties by October. The people of Pennsylvania who faced mandatory water conservation measures became much more aware of the ongoing potential for drought.

In this activity, you'll explore some of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of drought, and consider how they would impact your own community. You'll also stage a meeting similar to the ones held in Pennsylvania to discuss drought preparedness plans for your own community.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

In these pages, you'll find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you focused on key concepts. They allow you to check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills. These questions require you to pull some concepts together or apply your knowledge in a new situation.
Your teacher will let you know which questions you should answer and turn in.