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3 More Counties Seek Emergency Drought Declarations

A state advisory board is recommending that Governor Kitzhaber approve emergency drought declarations for three more Oregon counties. 

The Mt. Ashland ski area failed to open this winter due to a lack of snow.

The Mt. Ashland ski area failed to open this winter due to a lack of snow.

Michael Clapp/OPB

Josephine County is still compiling its official request.  But continuing dry conditions in Southern Oregon prompted the Oregon Drought Council to recommend its approval once that request comes in.

In Eastern Oregon, the council is recommending drought declarations for Wheeler and Grant counties, where stream flows are running well below normal.

Keith Mills is acting state engineer with the Oregon Water Resources Department. He says the fact that Wheeler and Grant counties lack large scale storage reservoirs only makes matters worse.

“Most of the reservoirs that they do have are small stock watering ponds a few really small local irrigation reservoirs, so they can’t really rely on them and that’s different than a lot of other areas in the state,” Mills says.

The governor has already approved emergency drought declarations for Klamath, Malheur, Lake, Harney, Crook and Jackson counties.

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