Governor Kate Brown has declared drought in 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties. This widespread water shortage is due to record-breaking low snowpack levels, high temperatures, and significantly low stream flows in many parts of the state.
This winter, Oregon’s snowpack peaked at the lowest levels measured in the last 35 years. According to the Water Resources Department, stream flow is expected to be well below normal through the end of summer despite the current statewide average precipitation being 87%.
On July 28th, Governor Brown issued an executive order directing state agencies to plan for resiliency to drought. She directed state agencies that own or manage land or facilities to immediately curtail or end the non-essential use of water for landscaping, enact a moratorium on the installation of new non-essential landscaping projects that require irrigation at state-owned buildings, develop signs and other messaging to encourage state employees to reduce non-essential uses of water, and assure that state-owned buildings and facilities have current leak detection systems and procedures that are being carried out on a timely basis. The goal of this executive order is to reduce non-essential water consumption by 15 percent or more on average across all state-owned facilities on or before December 31, 2020.
SDAO understands that certain district members are directly affected by these drought conditions more so than others. We have been participating on the Governor’s drought advisory committee and communications team to better understand how state and local agencies are affected by these conditions. While not all parts of the state are equally impacted, all areas can do their part to conserve and wisely use this precious resource. Oregon’s drought website, drought.oregon.gov, was developed to help Oregonians learn more about drought assistance programs, drought status updates, conservation methods, and recreation information. We encourage you to utilize this informative website.
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