What to do in specific emergencies

There are things you can do to help prepare for flooding, drought, high winds, heatwaves, snow and other emergency situations. All guidance is listed below.


Droughts are natural events, caused by insufficient rainfall placing stress on water resources and the environment

Preparation before Drought

  • Use rain water wisely - collect in barrels and water butts for gardening

Actions during Drought

  • Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap. Use the leftover water for watering plants
  • Do not leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hands - this can waste up to 5 litres of water per minute
  • Replace worn tap washers to prevent drips that can waste up to 4 litres of water a day
  • Use a watering can rather than a hose in the garden.  Garden sprinklers can use as much water in an hour as a family of four uses in a day
  • Regularly weed and hoe your garden to ensure that watering helps plants and not weeds
  • Lawns can survive long periods of dry weather if the grass is not cut too short
  • Water your garden in the cool of the early morning or evening - this will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation
  • If you water plants and shrubs too frequently their roots will remain shallow, weakening the plant. Wait until they show signs of wilting before watering them
  • Use mulches such as wood chippings, bark and gravel to help prevent water evaporation and suppress weeds that compete for the water intended for your plants
  • Use the minimum amount of water required when you boil water
  • Wait until you have a full load before using dishwashers and washing machines as half load programmes use more than half the water of a full load
  • A 5 minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath. However, power showers can use more water than a bath in less than 5 minutes
  • Place a brick or similar object in the toilet cistern.
  • Use a bucket for washing the car - not a hosepipe

Additional information and advice on droughts can be found in the DEFRA drought webarchive and on the Met Office Website.