Drought Preparedness and Response
|Publication Date:||1 January 2019|
The world's supply of drinkable fresh water is under increasing pressure. The United Nations (UN) estimates that water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the global population and is projected to rise due to effects of climate change and population growth (United Nations 2015). Most people in the United States have easy access to water-it simply comes out of their taps, and it is clean and plentiful. However, increasingly, a growing number of communities are experiencing periodic water shortages. A 2014 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 40 out of 50 state water managers expected shortages in some part of their state under average conditions during the 10 years following their 2013 survey (GAO 2014). Some of the challenges contributing to water shortages today include the following:
• Population growth is a factor, even though citizens may be using less water per person.
• Over the past five years, many areas of the country have experienced the hottest and driest years on record. According to NASA, the year 2008 was the ninth warmest year since instrumental temperature measurements began in 1880, and all of the nine warmest years have occurred in the past 11 years.
• Water is delivered through an increasingly complex and aging network of distribution systems.
• Water treatment processes have become more sophisticated and costly.
• Energy-related expenses, from transportation to treatment, have increased significantly.
• The environment is taxed to a critical point in numerous key waterways.
• In dry years, many areas have increased their reliance on groundwater, reducing the future availability of those supplies.
• The reliability of water deliveries has diminished as uncertainty and variability increases, as related to climate change, regulatory actions, delivery system security, and other factors.
There are also new opportunities for reducing the impact of water shortages. Widespread use of the Internet allows for information sharing and communication at a level unimagined in previous decades. New technology allows for more effcient use of water, from commercial cooling towers to smart irrigation controllers. Regional alliances have been established to coordinate water supply and demand management efforts.
M60, Drought Preparedness and Response, is designed to help water managers who are facing water shortages. The manual illustrates demonstrated methods of the past as well as new tool and methods. Managing water shortages involves temporarily reducing demand and finding alternate water supplies to temporarily meet demand. Some of these actions will result in permanent changes in water use, such as the installation of efficient toilets. The primary focus of the manual is to provide a step-by-step strategy to anticipate and respond to water shortages through a structured planning process.
AWWA recognizes that the unique aspects of any particular water shortage defy the ability of even the best plans to anticipate and prepare for every contingency. This second edition includes more examples of how water suppliers dealt with multiyear droughts by implementing changes to their programs from year to year or in response to di¯erent challenges.