Brings total counties in drought emergencies to 11, including Crook and Jefferson
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order Monday that declared "a state of drought emergency" for Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur counties, bringing to 11 the number of Oregon counties that have sought and received such orders for access to federal and state assistance.
"It’s forecasted to be a difficult drought year, and I am committed to bringing state agency resources to everyone impacted by low water and precipitation levels,” the governor said.
In the order, the governor said that based on recommendations from the Drought Readiness Council and a water supply panel, "I find the low snowpack, reservoir levels and low streamflow have caused or will cause natural and economic disaster conditions" in the four counties.
Other, similar drought declarations were issued earlier by the governor for Klamath, Crook, Jefferson, Morrow, Gilliam, Harney and Jackson counties.
A rainy, snowy early spring has buoyed hopes of a less severe curtailment of water supplies for agriculture and other uses this summer, as current, automated SNOTEL readings shows the snow-water content is back up to normal for the Upper Deschutes-Crooked River Basin, though water year-to-date precipitation is still 11% below the median for this point in the year.
But much of the area remains in severe drought after several drier-then-normal years in a row, dropping many reservoir levels and putting the squeeze on irrigation districts and agricultural interests, among others.