By Logan Bagett on Friday, March 24th, 2023 in Eastern/Southeast Oregon News More Top Stories
SALEM / BEND / CANYON CITY – (Press Release from Oregon Governor Tina Kotek)
Governor Tina Kotek declared a drought in Grant and Deschutes counties through Executive Order 23-08, and directed 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.
The drought declaration by Governor Kotek 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, a standing body composed of natural resource, public health, and emergency response agencies, 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 and Council members have conferred on this matter. The Council recommended that 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, 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.