The Douglas County Board of Commissioners declared a drought emergency for the county on Wednesday.
Douglas County Public Works Director Scott Adams told the commissioners at their Wednesday meeting that the Oregon Water Resources Department reports the Umpqua Basin streamflows are 67% of average and the basin snowpack is 43% of normal. The previous month, the snowpack was 75% of normal.
April precipitation was 41% of average, and since Oct. 1, precipitation has been 65% of average.
Commissioners acknowledged the steady showers Wednesday, but said the precipitation wouldn’t be enough to make a difference.
“There’s potential for Douglas County agriculture, livestock, natural resources, recreational tourism related economies to be adversely affected as the direct result of severe and continuing drought conditions,” Adams said.
In a press release issued following the decision, county officials said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation over the next three months.
The commissioners will next send the order to the governor to request a drought emergency declaration.
If the governor declares a drought, that will give the county more flexibility in how water is managed, allowing limited supplies to be used more effectively.
The governor has already declared drought emergencies in Jackson and Curry counties, and Coos County has also requested an emergency order.
“The Douglas County Board of Commissioners agree that measures must be taken to alleviate stress to citizens, farmland, forestry and livestock, to protect or mitigate economic loss, and to be responsive to the threat of wildfires,” said Commissioner Tom Kress in a written statement.