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Jackson, Curry, Klamath counties all under drought emergency declarations

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been ongoing throughout Oregon, drought concerns have been growing in the southwestern state's southern counties.

Posted: May 8, 2020 10:56 AM
Updated: May 8, 2020 11:31 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Multiple southern Oregon counties are under a drought emergency declaration from Governor Kate Brown as of May 8, and more are likely to join them.

So far, Klamath, Jackson, and Curry counties have received the drought declaration from Governor Brown, but Coos County has requested the same. In California, Siskiyou County has also requested a drought emergency declaration from Governor Gavin Newsom.


(Photo courtesy US Geological Survey)

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

While Jackson and Curry counties received their declarations over the past several weeks, Klamath County reached it at the end of February. The scramble for irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake has already inflamed near-yearly conflicts between irrigators, tribes, and the federal government.

"Even under the best of circumstances, water availability is severely limited. If there is not a dramatic reduction in demand, the Project will likely run out of water altogether within the next two months, if not sooner," the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents irrigators in the Klamath Basin, posted on Facebook Thursday. "There are discussions occurring among tribes, agencies and KWUA about how to deal with these issues. Right now, we do not know what decisions will come out of this."

The U.S. Drought Monitor finds extreme drought conditions in western Siskiyou County, southwest Jackson County, most of Josephine County, and northeastern Curry County. 

"Much of the rest of these counties, along with Klamath Counties, are in D2 — severe drought," the National Weather Service says. "As of today, the SWE — snow water equivalent — for the Rogue and Umpqua basins is around 45 percent of normal. The SWE for the Klamath Basin is 34 percent of normal. Much of the precipitation came early in the water year. With above normal temperatures being common through the winter, the snow pack has suffered."

Drought emergency declarations allow local agencies and residents access to resources to help offset the economic impact of the dry conditions — including the possibility of federal disaster loans for farmers and other people that rely on an adequate water supply for their livelihoods.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
Jackson1640
Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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