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Drought Watch

Governor Drought Declarations


Drought Declaration in Lake and Malheur Counties
The Governor declared a drought in Lake and Malheur counties on March 16, 2015. 
Drought Declaration in Crook, Harney, and Klamath Counties
The Governor declared a drought in Crook, Harney, and Klamath Counties on April 6, 2015.
Drought Declaration in Baker and Wheeler Counties
The Governor declared a drought in Baker and Wheeler Counties on April 20, 2015.
Executive Order
Drought Declaration in Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla and Wasco Counties
The Governor declared a drought in Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla and Wasco counties on May 21, 2015. 
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Oregon Water Resources Department Reports (New)

The Oregon Water Resources Drought Reports include the Basin Water Supply Status, Drought Declaration Query and Water Right Summary

Drought Reports

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Current Conditions in Oregon


​June 1, 2015 Drought Update
​May 26, 2015 Drought Update 
May 18, 2015 Drought Update
​May 11, 2015 Drought Update
​​May 4, 2015 Drought Update
​April 27, 2015 Drought Update
​​April 20, 2015 Drought Update
​April 13, 2015 Drought Update
​April 6, 2015 Drought Update
​​March 30, 2015 Drought Update
March 25, 2015 Drought Update
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State Drought Declaration Process


The legal framework for drought mitigation can be found in Oregon Law, ORS 536.700 - 536.780 relating to drought emergencies and administrative rules, OAR Chapter 690, Division 19.
Under this legal framework, the Governor has the authority and sole discretion to declare a drought emergency in any geographical area within the state that is appropriate. County boundaries are generally used because of the obvious benefits of working with a recognized local government.
Counties first make their drought declarations and then ask for a state declaration.  County governments should start the process by working with their emergency management program staff.
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Federal Drought Assistance Programs

There is a separate drought process at the federal level.  Information on this process and related drought assistance programs can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Drought Programs and Assistance website.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size affected by drought (in a federally declared drought area), may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. For more information, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Drought Disaster Assistance website:  https://www.sba.gov/blogs/businesses-can-get-drought-recovery-assistance-sba   

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Water Resources Department Assistance after Governor's Declaration of Drought

Water Resources has three primary mechanisms to help individuals and communities cope with drought:
     •  Emergency Water Use Permits
     •  Temporary Transfers of Water Rights
     •  Use of Existing Right Option/Agreement
Click here for more information.

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Drought Mitigation Tools


The Water Resources Department may exercise emergency water rights authority following a
Governor’s drought declaration as follows:
a. Issue temporary emergency permits under an expedited process. The drought permits
are limited to replacement of water not available under a permanent water right. They
are effective for the duration of the drought declaration, or up to one year, whichever comes first, unless renewed (ORS 536.750(1)(a) and OAR 690-019-0040);
b. Issue temporary transfers, authorizing changes in type of use, place of use, or point of
diversion of an existing water right, including “split season” transfers. They are effective for the duration of the drought declaration, or up to one year, whichever comes first, unless renewed (ORS 536.750(1)(b) and OAR 690-019-0055);
c. Issue temporary instream leases to convert all or a portion of a water right to an instream lease. They are effective for the duration of the drought declaration, or up to one year, whichever comes first, unless renewed (ORS 536.750(1)(b) and OAR 690-019-0058);
d. Approve special option agreements during drought emergencies. Water used under the terms of an approved option or agreement may be used at locations, points of diversion, and for beneficial uses other than those described in the water right (ORS 536.770 and OAR 690-019-0080);
e. Authorize temporary substitution of a supplemental ground water right for a primary surface water right. They are effective for the duration of the drought declaration, or up to one year, whichever comes first, unless renewed. (ORS 536.750(1)(f) and OAR 690- 019-0059);
f. Authorize temporary exchange of the source of water allowed under a water right, such as moving from a direct flow right to a stored water source (ORS 536.750(1)(e); and
g. Grant preference of use to water rights for human consumption or livestock (ORS 536.750(1)(c) and OAR 690-019-0070).
All of these emergency actions involve a review process that includes an abbreviated public interest determination and a test for injury to existing water rights. There is a specific set of reduced fees for many of these transactions under OAR 690-019-0100.
Dwight French (503) 986-0819 – Water Right Permits
Laura Wilke (503) 986-0884 – Instream Leases
Tom Paul (503) 986-0882- Special Options and Human/Livestock Preferences
Keith Mills (503) 986-0840 – General Drought Information
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Water Conservation

We can all do our part to lessen the effects of limited water supplies this summer. We can start by conserving the water we use today. Check out the links below for information on how you can save water.
     •  Residential Water Users
     •  Municipal Water Users
     •  Agricultural Water Users
     •  Commercial/Industrial Water Users
The Department has updated our brochures for water conservation and updated and expanded the model water curtailment ordinance. Use and reproduction of these materials is free.
Indoor Water Use
A Guide to Water Conservation
(PDF 249 KB)
Outdoor Water Use
A Guide to Water Conservation
(PDF 298 KB)
How to Produce a
Lawn-Watering Guide
A Guide to Water Conservation
(PDF 390 KB)

Model Water Curtailment Measures for Municipal and Quasi-Municipal Water Utilities (PDF 144 KB) 
Conservation Share House

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Water Rights Application Forms

Drought Permit Application Forms

Groundwater Application                                         
Surface Water Application  
Temporary Drought Transfer or Substitution Forms

Transfer Application Form
Evidence of Use Affidavit  
Land Use Form
Drought Instream Leases

Temporary Drought Instream Leases
Temporary District Drought Instream Leases  
Temporary District Instream Lease Renewal Form
​Temporary Drought Split Season
​Temporary Drought Split Season Measurement Form ​[DOC 84 KB]
Schedule of Fees for Drought Applications        [PDF 12 KB] 

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Users are invited to send questions about the use of this website, and suggestions for making it more useful, to webmaster@wrd.state.or.us

Contact Your Local Watermaster 
for More Information:
Watermasters in Oregon

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