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Drought emergency declaration likely for 2 counties in southeast Oregon


PORTLAND, Oregon — Oregon's Drought Council is recommending that Gov. Kate Brown declare a drought emergency in two southeastern counties due to dry conditions and low snowpack.

The Oregonian reports ( ) that Brown spokeswoman Melissa Navas said Friday the governor will likely sign those declarations for Lake and Malheur counties promptly once she receives the paperwork.

State Office of Emergency Management spokesman Cory Grogan says drought declarations for Harney and Klamath counties likely aren't far behind.

Oregon has received a normal amount of precipitation this winter but warm temperatures have caused most of it to fall as rain, not snow.

The emergency declaration gives the Oregon Water Resources Department authority to do such things as issue temporary emergency permits to water users, allow the owners of surface water rights to tap ground water and prioritize certain water uses over others.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency Friday for three regions of his state. That emergency also is linked to near-record-low mountain snowpack.

Information from: The Oregonian,

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