STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Governor issues drought emergency declaration for Klamath County as another potentially dry year looms

(Photo courtesy US Geological Survey)

Governor Kate Brown approved a request from the county to declare the official declaration, freeing up state resources to help.

Posted: Mar 4, 2020 2:30 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2020 3:13 PM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — With another dry year increasingly likely in the Klamath Basin, stakeholders in the area say that Governor Kate Brown has issued a drought declaration to free up state resources to help.

The news comes from the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA), a group representing farmers and other businesses that rely on the Basin's waterways for their livelihoods.

“We are very grateful to the Governor for her swift action to get in front of a very difficult situation,” said KWUA President Tricia Hill. “The action by the Governor and her team will create important opportunities to lessen the impact of a water year that is going the wrong direction."

An official drought declaration directs state agencies to help soften the blow of a drought on affected communities. KWUA says that it will help growers who have invested in groundwater wells get better access to that resource, while obligating Oregon agencies to coordinate with the federal government for help.

"Drought conditions arrived early and have persisted, including reduced snowpack, precipitation, and minimal streamflow," the Governor's declaration reads. "The long-term forecast for the region continues for warmer than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. These conditions have had a significant economic impact on the agriculture and livestock industries in Klamath County."

Klamath County last experienced a drought emergency in 2018. Lawmakers eventually secured millions in relief funds for those affected.

KWUA and Klamath Irrigation District board member Jerry Enman said that the Klamath County Commissioners had requested the declaration from the Governor in a letter dated February 25, 2020.


RELATED: Klamath Lake water fight continue as farmer reps strike back


“The County Commission, as well as the Supervisors in Modoc and Siskiyou, have been on top of this and are working hard to protect the agricultural community,” Enman said.

The Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake have long been a battleground between those represented by the KWUA and local tribes, the latter of which have fought to preserve water levels in an effort to rehabilitate salmon populations. During drought years, the water levels mandated to help fish often mean that farmers are left without a significant source of water for irrigation.

KWUA and the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency plan to host a public meeting on March 5, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at the Klamath County Fairgrounds, Building #2, "to update growers on water supply conditions and resources that may be available to help get through a difficult year." Representatives from state and federal agencies will also be in attendance, KWUA said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11851

Reported Deaths: 232
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah282472
Marion183153
Washington181520
Umatilla9877
Clackamas95527
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Malheur3021
Lane2943
Deschutes2520
Yamhill1949
Jackson1780
Linn17410
Polk17312
Jefferson1630
Morrow1381
Klamath1351
Wasco1161
Benton1126
Hood River1040
Douglas600
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Coos540
Columbia480
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa140
Baker110
Curry90
Sherman40
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 318761

Reported Deaths: 7027
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1303943795
Riverside24765537
Orange23901421
San Diego19371422
San Bernardino18912304
Fresno790687
Imperial7827135
Alameda7725148
Kern633997
San Joaquin627968
Santa Clara5983166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento533981
Stanislaus463351
Contra Costa460589
San Francisco442650
Ventura424653
San Mateo3949112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin343430
Kings289839
Monterey254018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma165014
Placer105511
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8938
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5683
Napa4774
Sutter3724
Butte3384
San Benito3362
El Dorado3070
Lassen2750
Shasta1876
Yuba1803
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Colusa1130
Mendocino1130
Lake1081
Tehama1041
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono501
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Brookings
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Crater Lake
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 72°
Grants Pass
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Klamath Falls
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 72°
Sunny & seasonal Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events