Is Your Region Ready for a Drought?
Part B. A Community Meeting
Imagine that the region where you live is beginning to show signs of drought. Precipitation has been below normal for several months and crops in the area are looking stressed. What will your community do to ensure that there will be enough water for the most essential purposes? Will people be willing to examine their water use behavior and implement conservation rules or a rationing plan? How will you inspire members of your community to break out of the "Hydro-Illogical Cycle" illustrated at right to develop a relevant, reasonable plan for dealing with drought?
You and your classmates will stage a meeting to play out some of the issues that would have to be faced in your own community if drought set in. Students will play various roles in the meeting, all working toward the end task of coming up with a plan that would minimize the impact of drought.
- As a class, brainstorm a list of stakeholders who are concerned with water use and distribution in your community.
- Refine the list to end up with a reasonable representation of the water-using and water-managing stakeholders in your own community.
- Assign the identified roles to individual students or small groups. Research the issue of water use in your community from the point of view of the role you are playing. In addition to accessing local or state records about water availability and use, the following documents and websites can serve as starting points for research:
- How to Reduce Drought Risk (Acrobat (PDF) 138kB Jul10 08)
- Drought Planning Resources, by State
- Drought Ready Communities
- Urban Drought Guidebook (2008) (Acrobat (PDF) 2.6MB Oct24 11) (2.6 MB PDF prepared for the state of California)
- 10-step Drought Preparedness Planning
Planning Your Meeting
- Students who are in decision-maker's roles will draw up an agenda of issues to cover at the meeting. Students in other roles are encouraged to provide input as well, just as community members bring their concerns to city councils or other elected officials.
- At a minimum, the group should come up with a list of specific strategies for reducing water use and an agreement about how the strategies will be enforced. Students in each role should participate in the meeting by discussing the impact of reduced water availability from the point of view of their assigned role.
- Identify a list of strategies that would be most effective in reducing water use in your community.
- How would your community enforce the water use rules once they were set? Would you authorize local police to give citations to people for watering their lawns or washing their cars? Would you reward people for turning their neighbors in for unauthorized water use?
- Explore the issues raised by your meeting in the context of your real community. If your state or county doesn't have a drought plan in place, contact your elected officials to find out how you can contribute what you've learned to help raise awareness and implement a plan.
- You can check the Drought Planning Resources, by State site to see if your state has a current plan for dealing with drought.