April 18, 2013
(Salem, OR) — In response to a request from Klamath County made on Tuesday afternoon, Governor Kitzhaber issued an Executive Order declaring a state of drought emergency in the county. This declaration provides the state with additional water management tools to assist irrigators, municipalities and other water users.
“We have serious and worsening challenges with water availability in Klamath County, requiring a swift and coordinated response. I am directing state agencies and resources to help mitigate the situation and coordinate state assistance to help lessen the economic effects on farmers and ranchers in the county," said Governor Kitzhaber.
Although precipitation has been only moderately below average in the Klamath River basin, warm temperatures have resulted in most of that coming in the form of rainfall instead of snow. The basin is currently at 61% of normal snowpack, and the chances of more snow are diminishing with every passing day. With low snow levels, streams are almost certain to drop to low levels much earlier than normal. While the state expects water supplies in the Klamath Irrigation Project to be available for most farmers, conditions in the county above Upper Klamath Lake may become significantly worse. State officials are staying in close communication with county leaders as conditions develop.
For the text of the Executive Order:
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324