SALEM, OR -- Jefferson County joins Crook and Deschutes counties with an official drought declaration from Governor Kate Brown. With the addition of Coos, Douglas, Gilliam and Jefferson counties on Friday, more than half the state has received drought emergency status.
Jefferson County officials agreed to submit a formal request to the Governor earlier this month.
"Oregon is only just beginning to face what will likely be an unprecedented wildfire season and drought. We must now rise to the challenge that a changing climate brings," Governor Kate Brown said in a statement. "My proposed $56 million water package gives local communities the tools to prepare for drought conditions that may persist for years to come. It is imperative not only for us, but for future generations, that we take action now."
The Governor has issued drought declarations for 19 of Oregon's 36 counties, which is designed to increase the flexibility in how water is managed in those areas. In 2014, nine counties were declared as drought emergencies.