What is a Drought?

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape, Drought Resources September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

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:

Drought Resources

West

Drought tips

Southeast

Drought: A Handbook for Prevention and Action

Southwest

Texas - Drought Resources

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.