In Texas, the weather alternates between drought and flood. In fact, these are the two most common disasters in Texas. Getting prepared for them, however, is very different.
Floods are sudden events. You must have a plan to respond immediately. Droughts, on the other hand, are slow and gradual. To be prepared for a drought, you need to make water conservation part of your lifestyle.
The primary impact from a drought is reduced water supplies, but that’s not the only impact. Air quality may suffer due to dust, and wildfires can become a major threat.
While the urgency of a drought is less than with other disasters, it’s no less important to be prepared. These tips will help you be ready:
- Water your yard efficiently. Don’t let water run off. If it rains, turn your automatic sprinkler system off.
- Landscape your yard with drought-tolerant grasses, plants and trees. Natives are usually a good choice. Use mulch to retain moisture.
- Install water-efficient appliances, toilets, faucets and shower heads. Repair leaks.
- Don’t run faucets unnecessarily. Instead of pouring wastewater down the drain, use it for watering your garden.
- If you live in an area with a limited water supply, have a plan for an alternative source for drinking and sanitation.
During a drought, follow these tips and be safe:
- When dust or smoke is in the air, wear a face mask, especially if you have a respiratory illness. A mask with an N95 rating is recommended. It will filter out 95 percent of airborne particles.
- Protect your indoor environment by frequently changing the air filters on your air conditioning and heating systems. Stock up on filters so you never run out.
- Don’t swim in stagnant creeks, ponds or lakes. They are at risk of being contaminated and may cause illness.
- Dust storms may become a threat, reducing visibility and making driving conditions dangerous. Never drive in a dust storm.
- Wildfire dangers increase. Be sure to have your emergency supply kit packed and ready to load, and plan your route of escape ahead of time. Learn more about wildfires.