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Gov declares Jefferson, 3 other county drought emergencies


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she has declared drought emergencies in four additional Oregon counties due to drought, low snowpack levels and low water conditions. With the addition of Coos, Douglas, Gilliam and Jefferson counties, 19 of Oregon’s 36 counties are officially in a state of drought emergency.

“Oregon is only just beginning to face what will likely be an unprecedented wildfire season and drought,” Brown said. “Oregon must now rise to the challenge that a changing climate brings.

“My proposed $56 million package gives local communities the tools to prepare for drought conditions that may persist for years to come. It is imperative not only for us, but for future generations, that we take action now.”

In an effort to raise awareness of the dire conditions that Oregon faces this summer, Brown has launched the “#ORdrought” campaign. State agencies are using the hashtag #ORdrought across social media to keep Oregonians informed and prepared to adapt to drought conditions.

Following requests from the four counties, the Oregon Drought Council reviewed current water conditions, future climatic forecasts and the effects of water shortages on local economies.

The Oregon Drought Council, chaired by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, meets regularly to assess water conditions around the state. In the first half of this year, Governor Brown has declared drought emergencies in 19 counties: Baker, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Jefferson, Jospehine, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Wasco, and Wheeler.

In 2014, a total of nine counties were under drought emergencies.

The governor’s drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible.

In addition, the governor is working with Oregon’s federal delegation, state agencies, local governments, and other partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize actions to address drought-related issues.

More information about the drought management tools made available as a result of the declaration can be found at the Oregon Water Resources Department’s website.

DOWNLOAD: Governor’s audio on drought declaration

READ: Executive Order on Drought Emergency

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