Those 15 minute showers you鈥檝e been taking? You might want to start thinking about cutting them down to five. Western and Southwestern states including California, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico are suffering from 鈥渆xtreme鈥 or 鈥渆xceptional鈥 drought conditions according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and that鈥檚 some serious business. While we hate to be downers, unfortunately, things don鈥檛 seem to be getting any better as unseasonable warmth (read: heat waves, and not the tropical kind that make us dance) have also hit these regions in the midst of what is considered one of the worst U.S. droughts in decades. #bummer.

But chin up, buttercups. 鈥楥ause here鈥檚 where things get cool with TECHNOLOGY. Nevada researchers are actively identifying ways to employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to help remedy this major drought dilemma.

A little background on drones: They were first used in World War I, but have been making some major news in the past few years as people have dreamt up new functions for these military flying machines like聽shooting beautiful videos聽and聽delivering tacos聽(we love the universe).聽Now Dr. Jeff Tilley, director of weather modification at Nevada鈥檚 Desert Research Institute (DRI), is researching whether drones can innovate weather modification technology.

Tilley has developed a cloud seeding rain generator that can be equipped on drones to deploy tiny particles of silver iodide into cloud systems, causing them to artificially make rain. Tilley admits that this process called 鈥渃loud seeding鈥 won鈥檛 completely solve the drought dilemma but does support good water management.

Drones are not widely used right now in the cloud seeding process. The two primary ways to seed clouds include employing piloted aircrafts during the winter to create ice crystals that evolve into snowflakes, as well as ground-based seeding which involves shooting silver iodide up into the clouds from below. Using drones will eliminate the human safety issues that come from sending a pilot into extreme conditions.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Tilley the okay to continue his research so that one day drones may be able to combat drought by making it rain. That鈥檚 right. Make it rain, drones.

What do you think of cloud seeding? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.