Drought Map of Texas

A map of Texas drought conditions in September 2011.The Next Texas Drought

It is said that death and taxes are the only two things in life you can be certain will occur.  Well, we think that you can add a Texas Drought or two or three to that list. In the last three years we have had two very damaging droughts – 2011 and 2013. The drought of 2011 was the worst in recorded history (records began in 1895) and a glance at the image of the Drought Map of Texas will confirm this fact. To give you an idea of its severity, thousands of trees were killed in Memorial Park and throughout Houston during the summer of 2011. In addition, Houston’s water department could not keep pace with all of the broken water lines. At one time there was a backlog of over 1033 broken water lines throughout Houston that the water department could not repair because of limited manpower and crews.  Wow!

Why 1033 Unrepaired / Broken Water Lines?

In the summer of 2011 Houston had a backlog of 1033 broken water lines. At that time 15 new broken water lines were being added to this backlog every day. The reason? Dramatic soil movement. The clay soils in the eastern half of Texas have the unique and unfortunate ability to absorb water like a sponge. These clay soils can also lose water and moisture like a sponge. The result is that the volume of the soil will swell when wet and shrink when dry.  When an area experiences very hot and very dry weather then the clay soils will dramatically shrink in volume. However, iron or concrete water lines buried in the clay soils do not shrink. So when these tremendous pressures of volume shrinkage are placed on water lines – which are not shrinking – failure can occur.  And that is how Houston had a backlog of 1033 broken water lines with new breaks every day – soil movement.

Soil Movement and your Home Foundation

The Texas droughts of 2011 and 2013 produced thousands of damaged home foundations. The clay soils shrank dramatically in volume while the concrete slab foundation did not.  This produces some of the same physical stresses on home foundations as city water lines. So if you see any warning signs of foundation damage then it would be wise to ask for an inspection.

Drought Map of Texas

Want to see a map of the current drought situation in your city or county?  Just click on the following link and you will see an updated version of the Texas Drought Map.

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