what will you do to deal with the drought
On our community allottment we start in febuary installing large 1000 litre pallet tank to collect water from our huts we have manage to collect nearly 1800 litre.we have also cover areas with cardboad them wood chipping to both keep the weeds down retain water and stop evaporation.We use watering cans not hose pipes when watering so you alonely water the plants and not all the soil around them
Would adding layers of newspaper/shredded paper before mulching help to retain water?
yes on newspaper plus it is a feed..
Paper can work well in compost and mulch. Have a look at this blog by James Alexander-Sinclair on getting rid of old paperwork in compost.