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Oregon governor issues drought declaration for Malheur County

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur Counties are, or will, experience natural and economic disaster conditions due to low water supply.

MALHEUR COUNTY, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday issued drought emergency declarations for Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur Counties.

According to Brown, the four Oregon counties requested the declarations through resolutions between March 16 and April 13. The State of Oregon executive order cites the counties' resolutions and recommendations from the Drought Readiness Council and the Water Supply Availability Committee.

In a Twitter post Monday, April 25, Brown said, "It’s forecasted to be a difficult drought year, and I am committed to bringing state agency resources to everyone impacted by low water and precipitation levels."

The executive order said the conditions of Oregon's water supply "are not expected to improve," along with future precipitation levels. Brown said Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur Counties are, or will, experience natural and economic disaster conditions. 

The projection of disaster conditions may be caused by low snowpack, low reservoir levels and low streamflow, according to Brown's declaration.

Monday's executive order directs the Oregon Department of Agriculture to assist in finding federal resources to slow the drought conditions in the four applicable counties. It also orders the department to help with agriculture recovery from low water supply conditions. 

RELATED: Climatologists: Drought to worsen in Oregon, Idaho this year

The Oregon Water Resources Department and the Water Resources Commission also must coordinate assistance for water users in Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur Counties. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will provide the water resources department with information on water for the state's fish and wildlife. 

"Drought is likely to have a significant economic impact on the farm, ranch, vineyard, recreation, tourism and natural resources sectors, as well as an impact on drinking water, fish and wildlife, and important minimum flows for public instream uses and other natural resources dependent on adequate precipitation, stored water, and streamflow in these areas," Brown wrote. "Extreme conditions are expected to affect local growers and livestock, increase the potential for fire, shorten the growing season, and decrease water supplies."

The executive order was signed by Gov. Brown on Monday in Salem, Ore. and expires Dec. 31, 2022. 

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