PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gov. Tina Kotek declared a drought emergency in both Grant and Deschutes counties on Friday.
Kotek issued an executive order that directs state agencies to prioritize resources and access drought-related emergency tools for the impacted areas.
The two counties are experiencing extreme drought conditions as the average precipitation recorded in the area has been well below average, Kotek said. Similarly, the counties’ streamflows are reported to be below average with Deschutes recording 78% and Grant 44% of its average streamflow.
Additionally, Kotek said in a statement that the Deschutes Basin’s reservoir conditions are approaching historic lows while soil moisture conditions remain extremely dry.
This month, officials from Deschutes and Grant counties requested the Oregon Drought Readiness Council recommend Kotek declare a drought emergency.
Conditions will continue to be monitored while state and local officials work with federal partners.
In mid-February, Kotek issued the first drought emergency in 2023 for Crook and Jefferson counties.
Oregon state climatologist Larry O’Neill told KOIN 6 that conditions could worsen in the central Oregon Cascades in the coming months.
“This great rain is still missing central Oregon, where we have the extreme and exceptional drought in Crook and surrounding counties,” said O’Neill. “The snowpack is doing mostly well in the Ochoco Mountains and western Blue Mountains, but the lack of rain has left most of the landscape just as dry as it has been since the current drought cycle started in fall of 2019.”