Drought Mitigation Trade-offs


Alternating strips of alfalfa and corn planted along the contour of the land keeps more of the rain that falls on the field by reducing run-off and soil erosion. Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In many realms, technology can increase our ability to have or do more with less. For instance, using drip irrigation methods to apply water directly to plants allows farmers to grow more plants with less water than they could using the lower-technology method of flood irrigation. However, individuals and communities have to weigh the benefits against the costs of using new technologies. As you saw in your community meeting in Lab 7, there are no simple answers to reducing our vulnerability to drought. Each apparent solution has liabilities and risks.

In this activity, you'll explore one or more technologies for drought mitigation and make a physical model to illustrate how the technology works. You'll explore the costs and benefits of implementing the technology in your region, and present your findings to your classmates.

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.