Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced a drought emergency for Baker and Douglas Counties due to low snowpack and precipitation, low streamflows, and warming temperatures as Oregon braces for the upcoming wildfire season. As drought conditions intensify throughout the state, Douglas County becomes the first region west of the Cascades to receive a drought declaration. Drought emergencies have already been declared in Klamath, Grant, Harney, and Lake Counties.
“All signs point to another record-breaking drought and wildfire season for Oregon,” Governor Kate Brown said. “That means we must continue our urgent work to build communities that are ready for the challenges of climate change. I have directed state agencies to stand ready to help and work with local communities to provide assistance."
Forecasted water conditions are not expected to improve, and drought is likely to have significant impacts on agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the local economies. Baker and Douglas County officials requested the state to take action, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the counties' requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.
The Governor's drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible. 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 to which users would not otherwise have access.
As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions will be closely monitored by the state's natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Baker County Drought Declaration
Douglas County Drought Declaration
State Drought Declaration Process & Emerge…