Governor Kitzhaber has declared drought emergencies in Grant, Josephine, and Wheeler counties. Commissioners from the respective counties requested emergency declarations this spring, and the Governor issued the declarations on May 29, 2014. The State Drought Council considered each county's request by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.
"The western United States is plagued by historic drought conditions, and we are experiencing the troubling effects across Oregon," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Counties are seeing water shortages and anticipating low streamflows and increased fire risk later this year. Declaring the drought emergency helps coordinate local, state, and federal efforts to reduce threats to agriculture, recreation, and natural resources in the county."
The Oregon Drought Council made its recommendation to the Governor following its May meeting. The Council meets monthly to assess water conditions around the state.
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.