Corn during drought of 2012 in C Central Illinois U.S.A.
Image by Amos Doyle

Corn crop during drought of 2012 in central Illinois

Sprinkler head of impact sprinkler that uses for sprinkler irrigation.
Image by Anton

Get tips here on caring for your lawn and garden during a drought.

Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' cultivar ; yarrow
Image by Timmeh 87

Achillea millefolium or Yarrow is well-suited to dry sites.


A drought is a period of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in its water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days.  [Definition from Wikipedia]  

The effects of prolonged drought conditions can be seen in the growth and appearance of crops and lawns, as well as in low levels of lakes, rivers, streams and wells. Visit the resources listed below for more information on drought topics related to you.


Drought Management Revised -YouTube video from Cornell Small Farms Program and CCE-Chenango that offers strategies for  periods with little or no rain, when grass and forages are in short supply.

Livestock Drought Concerns (PDF) - covers general ideas for watering livestock during drought, what to do if the main water source dries up, and other concerns (CCE-Delaware / Watershed Agriculture Program, 2012).

General / Household

20 Ways to Save Water (PDF) - a brief listing of ways to conserve water by modifying your everyday living habits (Penn State University, 2008).

Indoor Water Conservation Tips Prior to a Drought (PDF) includes general water conservation tips plus those specific to bathroom and kitchen water use (EDEN/Extension Disaster Education Network, 2010).

Indoor Water Conservation Tips During a Drought (PDF) includes water conservation tips specific to bathroom, kitchen and laundry water use (EDEN/Extension Disaster Education Network, 2012).

Preparing for a Water Emergency (PDF, 12pp) is a tool for food processors, food manufacturers, and other large volume water users to be better prepared for water shortage and contamination emergencies (Penn State University, 2011).

Water Saving Devices for Your Home - using faucet aerators, low flow shower heads and toilet dams can reduce your home water use (University of Florida Extension).

Lawn & Garden

Rx for Dry Landscapes: Water Trees & Shrubs, Not the Lawn provides watering advice from Cornell Horticulture (7/26/16).

Conserve Water with Xeriscape Landscaping (PDF) includes design considerations, mulches, irrigation systems, and includes a list of drought tolerant plants for your garden (CCE-Nassau, 2009).

Waterwise Vegetable Gardening, from University of Vermont Extension, Dept. of Plant & Soil Science.

Gardening under Drought Conditions (PDF) covers recycling and conserving water, ways to minimize water evaporation in the garden, and other gardening practices you should use in time of drought (CCE-Dutchess & Rockland Counties, 2004).

Outdoor Water Conservation Tips Prior to a Drought (PDF) includes general water conservation tips plus those specific to your lawn and pool (EDEN/Extension Disaster Education Network, 2012).

Outdoor Water Conservation Tips During a Drought (PDF) covers car washing and lawn care during drought conditions (EDEN/Extension Disaster Education Network, 2012).

Water Wise Gardening (PDF) discusses efficient watering times and methods, choosing drought tolerant plant varieties, water needs of lawns, trees & shrubs, and other tips (CCE-Rockland County, 2009).

Water Wise Lawns (PDF) covers watering for new and established lawns, supplemental irrigation, and other suggested practices (CCE-Rockland County, 2009).

Water Systems

Coping with Drought-Affected Private Water Supply Wells (Iowa State University Extension, 2013).

Managing Your Well During a Drought (PDF) - This fact sheet from Penn State University Cooperative Extension covers groundwater fluctuations, impacts of land use, how to monitor groundwater levels, conservation techniques, and what to do if your well runs dry (Penn State University, 2005).

Using Low-Yielding Wells - This page from Penn State University Cooperative Extension discusses well yield, peak demand, how to reduce peak water use, increasing water storage, and pump and well capacity.

Last updated December 6, 2023