(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today declared drought emergencies in Crook, Harney, and Klamath counties due to low water levels and record low snowpack.
The drought continues to have significant impact on agriculture, livestock, and natural resources in each of the jurisdictions. The counties requested the state to take action, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the counties’ requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.
“Oregon’s unusually warm and dry winter has potentially dire consequences,” Governor Brown said. “By enlisting the support of our state and federal partners, we will be best able to ensure the safety of the residents of Crook, Harney, and Klamath counties, as well as their livelihoods and property.”
The Oregon Drought Council, chaired by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, meets as necessary to assess water conditions around the state. Governor Brown declared a drought emergency in Malheur and Lake counties on March 17, 2015.
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.
Many of these authorities expedite water management tools to which users would not otherwise have access.