The Douglas County Board of Commissioners announced Friday it has requested Gov. Kate Brown approve an emergency drought order for Douglas County.
The commissioners formally declared a drought at their regular Wednesday meeting.
Brown has already approved emergency drought orders in Jackson, Lake and Klamath counties. Gilliam, Umatilla and Wheeler counties have also requested drought orders.
A drought declaration gives counties extra flexibility in managing water to ensure limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted drought in the region will persist or intensify in the region.
Winter snowpack is considerably lower than normal in the Umpqua Basin, and that combined with less rain and lower water levels, could harm agricultural, livestock, recreation, natural resources, tourism and other local economies.
It also increases the chances of an early fire season.
“The Douglas County Board of Commissioners agree that extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the suffering of our citizens, livestock, forests and agricultural industry in order to protect and mitigate economic loss, as well as be responsive to the threat of wildfires,” Commissioner Tom Kress said in a written statement.
The Douglas County Public Works Department’s Natural Resources Division announced a notice of water availability for properties downstream of Galesville Reservoir that border or have access to either Cow Creek, the South Umpqua River or the Umpqua River.
Those properties may be eligible to purchase stored water from Douglas County’s Galesville Project. There is a limited amount of water available for specific uses. For industrial, it’s 1,485-acre feet; for irrigation, 5,555-acre feet; municipal, 4,265-acre feet; multiple purpose and domestic, 3,975-acre feet.
Water from the Galesville Project is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
To check for eligibility, contact the Douglas County Natural Resources Division at 541-440-4255 or visit the website at douglascounty-oregon.us/362/Natural-Resources.