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Drought in Oregon

Health Impacts of Drought

Drought occurs when rain, snow and other precipitation are lower than average for an extended period of time. Oregonians are familiar with drought, but climate changes are likely to increase the duration and effects.

The health impacts of drought are numerous and far reaching. Some drought-related health effects are experienced in the short-term and can be directly observed and measured. However, the slow rise or chronic nature of drought can result in longer term, indirect health risks that are not always easy to anticipate or monitor. 


Health risks commonly associated with drought dry, cracked earth in an area affected by a drought

  • quantity and quality of drinking water
  • increased recreational risks
  • poorer air quality
  • impacts to sanitation and hygiene
  • changes in access and affordability of foods
  • increased incidence of mental and physical illness and disease
  • economic impacts
Have questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Drought and Public Health.

 Related Public Health Division programs and resources 

See what our partners are saying about drought 

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