Drought Response and Financial Assistance
Responding to drought is something that Texas has done for decades, both through the work of agencies and various drought- and disaster-focused financial assistance programs.
Various state agencies support drought response in Texas through their own work and through collaborative efforts as part of councils, task forces, and other collective endeavors.
- Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM): TDEM coordinates the state emergency management program, which is intended to ensure the state and its local governments respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters and implement plans and programs to help prevent or lessen the impact of emergencies and disasters. The chief of TDEM is the state drought manager and is responsible for managing and coordinating the drought response component of the state water plan.
- Texas Drought Preparedness Council: The TWDB is a member of the Council, which is charged with preparing the state's Drought Preparedness Plan and situation reports that are delivered to state leadership. The Council also coordinates drought-response planning efforts of local, state, and federal agencies; advises the governor on significant drought conditions and recommends counties for inclusion in state drought disaster declarations; and prepares a report on drought across the state for the Texas Legislature every two years.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): The TCEQ provides hands-on assistance to communities responding to drought and provides robust drought information on its website.
- Texas Water Development Board (TWDB): The TWDB not only provides information on drought and water resources but can also provide financial assistance to help communities respond to drought.
- Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA): TDA may have grants to assist rural communities struggling with drought.
- Texas Water Infrastructure Coordination Committee: The Committee is made up of state and federal funding agencies, technical assistance providers, and other members of the water community and works with entities across Texas to identify and develop solutions to water challenges, including those brought on by drought.
- Tool for Planning Water Supply Response in Drought Emergencies: This tool is offered to support water resource and utility professionals with the challenge of providing water to communities under the influence of severe drought. The tool's objective is to assist in planning for water shortages by familiarizing users with alternative sources, treatment processes, distribution options, short-term equipment solutions for treatment, and the regulatory process as it relates to emergency drought situations.
- State of Texas Drought Annex: The State of Texas Drought Annex is prepared by the Drought Preparedness Council and serves as the drought-focused component of the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan.
Financial Assistance for Communities Facing Drought
The TWDB offers additional resources to help affected communities recover as rapidly as possible from disasters and other emergency situations, including unanticipated reduction of adequate water supply due to prolonged drought. Information about funding for these purposes through the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs is available.
The TWDB also provides affordable financial assistance for water supply projects in the state water plan through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program. Information about SWIFT and other TWDB financial assistance programs can be found on the TWDB's website.
In addition to the TWDB, a number of entities offer financial assistance programs that may be helpful during times of drought:
- The Texas Water Infrastructure Coordinating Committee is a collaborative endeavor among state and federal government agencies and technical assistance providers that aims to connect water systems with resources for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers various Disaster Assistance Programs to help farmers, ranchers, communities, and businesses that have been impacted by natural disasters.
- The Texas Department of Agriculture facilitates the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program for Rural Assistance, which includes State Urgent Need funding for communities meeting eligibility requirements that have been impacted by state-declared disaster events and are not eligible for federal disaster assistance. The agency also operates the “Hay Hotline,” which helps agricultural producers locate forage and hay supplies for sale.