Local News

Gov. Declares Drought Emergency In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- Following a request by Deschutes County Commissioners earlier this year, Governor Tina Kotek issued a drought declaration Friday morning for Deschutes County. The Executive Order also includes a declaration for Grant County, in eastern Oregon. Her order directs state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region.
Both counties have portions of extreme drought (D3) and are experiencing well below average water year precipitation. Streamflow has also been well below average in both counties over the water year, with Deschutes at 78% and Grant at 44% of its average streamflow. Likewise, streamflow at their respective basins have been below average, with Deschutes at 71% and John Day at 39%.
Reservoir conditions in the Deschutes Basin are approaching historic lows and soil moisture conditions across surface, root zone and shallow groundwater profiles are extremely dry. Above average snowpack conditions, 117% in Deschutes and 154% in John Day, will provide limited relief to drought conditions in some parts of each county.
According to the Governor's office, the drought declaration unlocks a number of drought-related emergency tools for water users, including assistance to local water users. Drought declarations also allow the Water Resources Department to expedite review processes and reduce fee schedules.
The Oregon Drought Readiness Council received requests from the Grant County Court and Deschutes County Board of Commissioners in March requesting Governor’s drought declarations. The council received input from Oregon’s Water Supply Availability Committee on regional water supply conditions. The Council recommended the Governor declare drought in Grant and Deschutes Counties for the 2023 calendar year, pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 536.740.
As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, Kotek's office says conditions will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.


Image: Map issued 3/23/23 by the U.S. Drought Monitor

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