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Texas Needs to Prepare for Possible 10-year ‘Megadroughts’

The dried up shoreline of Texas’ Lake Buchanan during the 2011 drought. Credit: Merinda Brayfield

Texas is no stranger to drought seasons.

Both the 1950s and 2010s saw long dry spells that threatened the way of life for people who call the state home.

However, these intense droughts could be nothing compared to what Texas may see in the future, new research published in the journal Earth’s Future finds.

Jay Banner, professor in UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences, and state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon warn of a future with more extreme drought and flooding as a result of climate change.

By the end of the 21st century, Texas droughts could compare to or exceed the 10-year megadroughts that plagued the state in its ancient past, the research finds.

The study’s authors are calling on the state to change the way it manages its water resources, especially as Texas’s population is expected to swell from 29.5 million people to 51 million by 2070.

Read more about the team’s projections and how we should prepare.

Please join us on this journey.

Planet Texas 2050 is a research grand challenge at The University of Texas at Austin. We’re a team of more than 150 researchers across all disciplines working together over the next decade to find ways to make our state more resilient in the face of extreme weather events and rapid population growth. Follow us on Twitter, visit our website, and come back to our blog for updates.

Jay Banner, Ph.D., is a professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, and he is also the director of UT’s Environmental Science Institute. His research interests center on climate and hydrologic processes and how these are preserved in the geologic record, as well as how human activity affects the sustainability of water resources.




Texas' population could nearly double by the year 2050. Extreme weather events will bring more floods, more droughts, and more heat. Our state's resources can't support those demands. Making Texas resilient is our grand challenge.

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Planet Texas 2050

Planet Texas 2050

We're a group of researchers from across UT Austin. Making Texas resilient in the face of rapid population growth and climate extremes is our grand challenge.

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