On this page you will find...

What to Do...

Just Before

  • Reuse water
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Use flow restrictors
  • Choose energy efficient appliances [including toilets and showerheads]
  • Compost food
  • plant drought tolerant plants
  • use re-circulated water if installing fountains
  • collect rainfall [tips how-to]
  • position sprinklers so water lands on plants and not pavement
  • consider a zero-scape landscape
  • water during allotted times and choose a water efficient irrigation system [ex: drip irrigation or a weather-based irrigation/smart auto controller]
  • water manually in fall and winter if needed
  • use mulch around trees to retain moisture in the soil

Get supplies ready in case you need to stay home for many days without power. Get extra water, non-perishable food, pet food, and fast-burn logs for cooking outside. If you don’t have one, get an electric heater.

Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights. 

Think about each person’s special needs, like medicine. 

Make sure pets are properly hydrated at home and when outdoors with fresh, clean drinking water.

Identify and fix leaky pipes and faucets that would waste water unnecessarily with your local plumber.

In addition to buying bottled water, consider purchasing at-home filters to purify water for drinking. Consider saving water during rainy seasons for later use in a rain-harvesting tank.

Alert vulnerable neighbors and share watering restriction guidelines.

Think about people who are unhoused, older adults, and people living alone or with physical disabilities and check in on their drinking water needs or come up with a plan to conserve water.


  • avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily
  • dispose of tissues and other similar waste in the trashcan and not the toilet
  • do not let the water run in the sink unnecessarily when brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving

Take shorter showers and turn on water to get wet enough to lather soap, and then rinse.

  • operate washers to be energy efficient and only run when full.
  • use energy/water efficient settings and only run when fully loaded
  • choose to hand wash dishes in two basins [rinse and soapy] and reuse the water basin throughout the day
  • install hot water heater on your sink to avoid wasting water
  • defrost food in the refrigerator overnight or defrost setting in the microwave, instead of with running water
  • check the moisture levels with a soil probe, spade or large screwdriver and do not water if the soil is still moist
  • follow Austin’s watering guidelines
  • in extreme drought, preserve trees and large shrubs first
  • Use a shut-off nozzle to adjust the hose to a fine spray
  • Opt for car washes that recycle water

Make sure they are aware of Austin watering restriction guidelines and have ways to conserve water with proper assistance. Consider investing in a neighborhood garden water collection tank to collect water during the rainy seasons.


Advocate early if you are running low on water.

In some cases, the city or county will set up resource and recovery centers, or activate resilience hubs to help people connect to supplies and resources.

Get insurance estimates early. If you don’t have insurance, check the city website for repair programs.

Check the city website if you need shelter.

Have a go-to network of neighbors and friends you can stay with.

Know where your nearest warming centers, shelters and resilience hubs are located.


  • Drought can lead to a wide range of environmental, social, and economic impacts. Below are just a few examples of the far-reaching consequences of drought.

Sign up for alerts through drought.gov


  • Meteorological Drought : When dry weather patterns dominate an area.
  • Hydrological Drought : When low water supply becomes evident in the water system.
  • Agricultural Drought : When low water supply becomes evident in the water system.
  • Socioeconomic Drought : When the supply and demand of various commodities is affected by drought.
  • Ecological Drought : When natural ecosystems are affected by drought.
  • Drought can reduce the water availability and quality necessary for productive farms, ranches, and grazing lands. It can also contribute to insect outbreaks, increases in wildfire, and altered rates of carbon, nutrient, and water cycling—impacting agricultural production and critical ecosystem services.
  • Drought impacts port and waterway transportation and supply chains, resulting in increased transportation costs. Higher temperatures that coexist with drought can impact roads, airport runways, and rail lines.
  • Drought can cause significant human health outcomes, including decreased water quantity and quality, increased incidence of illness and disease (e.g., Valley Fever), adverse mental health outcomes as livelihoods are challenged, and overall, increased mortality rates.
  • Drought can alter or degrade critical functions of healthy ecosystems, including reduced plant growth, reduction or extinction of local species, and landscape-level transitions (e.g., a forest being replaced by a grassland).
  • Drought can be a contributing factor to wildfire. Dry, hot, and windy weather combined with dried out (and more flammable) vegetation can increase the probability of large-scale wildfires.
  • During drought, decreased water levels, warmer temperatures, and soil runoff can lead to algal growth, lower dissolved oxygen levels, and increased turbidity, posing health risks for human and aquatic life.

Know where your nearest resilience hubs and emergency resources are located. Have an emergency plan in the case of wildfires or poor water quality.

A boil water notice is a public statement advising people to boil their tap water before using it, typically in response to an event that has (or could have) introduced contaminants into the water distribution system. Such events include a large water main break, widespread loss of system pressure, or results of routine sample testing in the system. Although waterborne diseases are extremely rare, they can be serious. The risk is higher for infants, the elderly and persons with immune deficiency disorders. Austin Water issues boil-water notices even if the possibility of contamination is remote to safeguard the health of the community.


Click here to receive more information.

Conserve water throughout the year with rain water collection tanks and in passing throughout the day.

View Austin Water’s Water Saving Tips for additional information.

View the Austin Water homepage for more detailed information about additional programs and rebate options.

View Austin’s local water outage dashboard below on this same page or through this link here to report an outage.

Have bottled water ready and stored in a cool, dry place.

Consider purchasing an at-home water filtration system and check with your local water agency to see if there are any rebates available.

Consider testing your water with testing kits to ensure that it is drinking water safe and free from contaminants; or having these kits on hand in the event of a water emergency. 

Austin’s current water restrictions are available through Austin Water.

What if I?

Make sure you have a kit ready with things kids need like purified drinking water, electrolytes in cases of extreme heat, etc.

Talk to your kids about not wasting water when brushing their teeth, washing their face and when bathing or playing outdoors. Make it fun for them to collect rainwater or conserve water. Educate them about Texas Drought conditions and our climate zone.

Sign up for local emergency help for older people. This help can include special support if you need to leave your home quickly. Keep fresh drinking water with your medicines and supplies where you can get them easily. Connect to a friend. Consider asking for help from a neighbor to ensure that your home does not have leaky pipes or faucets and apply to have repaired through the Austin Water Portal.

Keep your pregnancy care items, bottled water and medicines in your emergency kit.  Make sure to take breaks, stay cool in intense heat. Be sure to have extra fresh, clean drinking water on hand and be aware at all times of Austin’s Boil Water Notices

Get a pet emergency kit with food, clean water, and medicine. 

Sign up for emergency alerts that show messages on your phone or computer. Keep extra batteries for any devices you use. Let emergency workers know that you need visual alerts.

Have your cane or guide dog’s harness ready in case you need to leave quickly. Mark your supplies so you can tell what they are by touching or feeling them. Make sure you can get alerts through sound or vibration.

Make an emergency kit for the person you take care of. Include their special foods, fresh, clean drinking water and medical supplies. Plan what to do if you can’t get to them.

View Austin Water’s webpage using the “Translate” option on the upper right-hand corner of their webpage. You can use translation apps on your phone that work even when you’re not online.


Keep all your health stuff like prescriptions and insurance information in one place. Have enough medicine and special food ready.

Know where shelters, cooling centers and Austin’s Resilience Hubs are, and what you need to get in. Keep your important papers like ID in a waterproof bag. Keep a bag with food, water, and a first aid kit. Stay clean to avoid getting sick. Stay up to date on where to go when it floods.

Keep informed with your property management company on outages and boil water notices via text or email alerts. Keep an emergency kit and important papers safe from water. 

  • install a water-saving pool filter
  • cover pools and spas to reduce evaporation

ASL Video

Family Video

Things to Know and Learn

Drought is generally defined as “a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time (usually a season or more), resulting in a water shortage.”



Threat Level



Exceptional Drought

Threatens life and/or property. Poor water quality caused by devasting algae blooms occur. Exceptional and widespread crop loss occurs as well as water shortages. Declining water table reported & significant financial losses to the agricultural industry. Widespread tree mortality and most wildlife species’ population and health suffers. Firework restrictions implemented. Producers unable to plant fields

Prepare Ahead. Check for Updates.


Extreme Drought

Threatens life and/or property. Financial burden in many sectors. Severe fish, plant and wildlife loss is reported.

Be Prepared to Deal with the Financial Impacts, Water or Food Costs Rising.


Severe Drought

Could threaten life or property. Hydroelectric power is compromised, soil is hard, crop yields decrease. Wildfire danger is severe; burn bans are implemented; Wildlife migrates to more populated areas.

Have a Plan to Get to Safety in Case of Wildfires. Watch closely.


Moderate Drought

Could threaten life or property. Stock tanks, streams & creeks are low. Wildfire frequency increases.

Conserve Water. Check for Local Updates.


Abnormally Dry

Could cause problems or get worse, grass fires increase & surface water levels decline.

Prepare Ahead. Check for Updates.

Useful Maps

Drought Conditions

Austin Water Outage Map

Thinking About the Conditions

Here is some more information to help you think about Drought Conditions and Impacts.

Condition or Conditions


Impact for Vulnerable People

Plan Ahead

Exceptional Drought

Older adults, children and pregnant women may have a harder time regulating their temperature. People with mobility issues may have trouble seeking shelter. People who are unhoused or working outside are at risk.

Store water

Wear hats

Wear gloves

Share warming supplies with those in need

Extreme Drought

Older adults, children and pregnant women may have a harder time regulating their temperature. People with mobility issues may have trouble seeking shelter. People who are unhoused or working outside are at risk. Water and gas pipes can break when temperatures rise. 

Bubble wrap on windows

Drip faucets

Get food and water

Store extra water in bathtub, sink or containers

Block draft

Limit time outside

Protect people, pets, pipes, plants

Share supplies

DON’T: use oven for heat or put generators inside

Severe Drought

In addition to above, rain is very hard on the unhoused population and people working outside when temperatures are very cold. Iced over roads may mean limited access to support. Iced over trees can break power lines.

See above +

Alert vulnerable people & share supplies

Limit time outside

Snow tires

Gas for generator

Extra food and water

Protect people, pets, pipes, plants

DON’T: use oven for heat or put generators inside

Moderate Drought

Destroyed tents combined with wind, freezing temperatures or rain can make it very hard for people stuck outside to protect themselves.

See above + 

Secure outside items.

Check on unhoused community. New tents and tarps are needed.

Abnormally Dry

Older adults may have trouble navigating their needs. People with generators may not be able to get gas to run them. People with electronic medical equipment. 

Put perishables outside to keep cold.

Run cord for electric heaters to generators placed outside only.

Use fireplaces safely. Watch for broken pipes as temperatures rise.

Heat Waves

Sanitary conditions and dehydration can affect people who are pregnant, small children, older adults, and people with certain conditions.

Gas lines may also be broken.

If water runs low and roads are unpassable, advocate for outside support.

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