Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency in Marion County. This declaration comes at the request of local officials and is based on the recommendations of the Drought Council and the Water Availability Committee.
“Even as the season turns towards fall, we are reminded that drought continues to challenge Oregon,” Brown said. “As a state we must find ways to work together to meet this challenge as drought forces us to adapt to the changes that a climate in flux brings.”
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.
Drought means hot and dry conditions leading to water shortages that have resulted in limited water supplies for farming and ranching operations, community water systems, recreation, and fish, as well as increased risk of wildfire. Long-term forecasts continue to call for temperatures well above normal. Low river and stream levels are of concern as well, although recreational areas around the state remain open for business.
Gov. Brown urges people visiting parks and natural areas should read and follow local fire restrictions very carefully.
The Oregon Drought Council, chaired by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, meets regularly to assess water conditions around the state. So far this year, Oregon has 25 counties under declared drought including, Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Morrow, Marion, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wasco, and Wheeler.
In 2014, a total of 10 counties were under drought emergencies.
In the effort to raise awareness of the dire conditions that Oregon faces this summer, Gov. Brown’s office has created a website for more information, http://www.drought.oregon.gov, and launched the “#ORdrought” campaign. State agencies are using the website and the hashtag #ORdrought to keep Oregonians informed and prepared to adapt to drought conditions.