3 More Ore. Counties Seek Emergency Drought Declarations

May 14, 2014

An Oregon advisory board is recommending that Gov. John Kitzhaber approve emergency drought declarations for three more counties.

Josephine County is still compiling its official request, but continuing dry conditions in Southern Oregon prompted the Oregon Drought Council to recommend its approval once that request comes in.

In Eastern Oregon, the council is recommending drought declarations for Wheeler and Grant counties, where stream flows are running well below normal.

Keith Mills, acting state engineer with the Oregon Water Resources Department, says the fact that Wheeler and Grant counties lack large scale storage reservoirs only makes matters worse.

“Most of the reservoirs that they do have are small stock watering ponds [and] a few really small local irrigation reservoirs, so they can’t really rely on them," Mills said. "That’s different than a lot of other areas in the state."

The governor has already approved emergency drought declarations for Klamath, Malheur, Lake, Harney, Crook and Jackson counties.

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