What is a Drought?


Water wise landscape.

Quick Answer:

Droughts are naturally occurring events that result from less than normal precipitation over short or extended periods of time.

The effects of drought can affect normal human activities and the environment. Drought is a normal part of climate patterns and occurs virtually everywhere.

Drought is not detrimental in and of itself. Problems with drought arise when water use exceeds water supply.

Types of Drought

  • Meteorological: significant departure of precipitation below normal values
  • Agricultural: soil moisture is not adequate for vegetation (crops) or livestock
  • Hydrological: surface (lakes, rivers, reservoirs) and subsurface water (groundwater) levels are significantly below normal
  • Socioeconomic: physical water shortage begins to have an effect on daily life

Additional Resources:

United States Drought Monitor


Drought tips


Drought: A Handbook for Prevention and Action


Texas – Drought Resources