Drought is defined as “a long period of abnormally low rainfall, especially one that adversely affects growing or living conditions”. Drought is actually a very common event, but the extent of drought conditions can very dramatically.
The impacts of a drought are typically divided into three categories:
1. meteorologic drought (a period of lower than normal precipitation)
2. soil moisture/vegetative drought (impacts on plants, wildlife and crops);
3. hydrologic drought (resulting in lower stream flows and groundwater and reservoir levels.
In the 1950s, Texas experienced what many refer to as the “drought of record”. The drought began in the late 1940s and ran through 1957. During this drought most of Texas received 30 – 50 percent less than its normal rainfall. As a result of the drought of record, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
The TWDB has an excellent website with a “drought” specific data http://waterdatafortexas.org/drought/. You can get local groundwater levels, reservoir levels, drought index maps and statewide information regarding droughts.
In 1999, the Texas Legislature created the Drought Preparedness Council, an inter-agency committee with the purpose of:
The Drought Preparedness Council, in times of significant drought meet often and prepares a Statewide Drought Situation Report which can be found at
A drought can be tracked in many different ways depending on the specific impact that applies. Some of the more common drought indexes are: