Jackson County officials are asking Governor John Kitzhaber to approve an emergency drought declaration for the county. They’re asking for resources to help provide more water for the area.
County officials say the water supply is lower because of lower snowpack levels. The lack of water could harm farmers, ranchers, vineyard owners and others who rely on those natural water sources.
Doug Breidenthal is a Jackson County Commissioner. He says these dry conditions aren’t new to the area.
“Any time you’re in a drought situation it’s not good news, but at the same time if we get some rain in the next few months that will help,” Breidenthal says. “So we’re still early in the season, but we decided to go ahead and make this request and get it behind us because we can anticipate what’s happening.”
Breidenthal says irrigation districts could be forced to limit water use later this summer.
County officials say the governor could approve the drought declaration in April.
The dry conditions may lead to an early start to the summer wildfire season.