SALEM, Ore. — Lake County will join the growing list of Oregon's southeastern counties facing a drought emergency, Governor Kate Brown announced on Thursday. Similar drought emergencies have already been declared for Klamath, Harney, and Grant counties.
"Forecasts are predicting severe drought and wildfire conditions for much of Oregon," Governor Kate Brown said. "The conditions in Lake County are already concerning, and I'm directing state agencies to prioritize assistance in the area to help minimize the impacts drought conditions could have on the local economy."
The forecast for water conditions in Lake County are not expected to improve, according to the Governor's office. Those conditions could have dramatic impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economy.
The declaration comes at the behest of county officials, who cite low snowpack, precipitation, and streamflows in combination with warming temperatures. The county's official request was sent to Salem on March 21, where it was weighed by the Oregon Drought Council before coming to the Governor's desk.
Drought declarations are essentially an administrative tool—allowing the state to be more flexible in managing water resources efficiently, and making those impacted by drought in the county eligible for state and federal aid.
"Oregon’s state agencies will continue to work with local governments and other partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize actions to address drought-related issues. The Governor’s drought declaration authorizes state agencies to expedite water management tools that users would not otherwise have access," said a statement from the Governor's office.
CLICK BELOW for more background on Klamath County's drought emergency, the first declared in Oregon this year:
- Millions Coming to Klamath Basin for Emergency Drought Relief
- Governor Brown Visits Klamath Falls; Confirms Drought Emergency
- Rep. Walden Discusses Short-Term and Long-Term Drought Solutions
- Klamath County Declares Drought Emergency