The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted today to declare a local emergency regarding the extreme drought conditions found throughout much of Lane County and expected to last into the summer.
“Extreme drought conditions exist across Oregon and Lane County is experiencing a mix of extreme drought in the Cascade Foothills and severe drought nearly everywhere else,” said Lane County Emergency Manager Patence Winningham. “This declaration will open up a host of tools and resources to water right users in Lane County such as farmers, agriculture, and businesses that may be affected by surface water rights.”
The local emergency declaration also requests the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to recommend adding Lane County to the State’s emergency declaration under ORS 536 and to direct the Oregon Water Resources Department to make available temporary transfers of water rights, emergency water use permits, and use of existing right options and agreements. A state drought declaration allows the Oregon Water Resources Department to offer certain tools to water rights holders in a drought-declared county. These tools have an expedited review process, reduced fee schedule, and are intended to be short-term emergency authorizations, not permanent solutions to deal with water supply challenges
The Oregon Water Resources Department maintains a drought website that provides the status of current water conditions and state drought declarations, as well as information on what you can do to use water wisely. For more information visit www.oregon.gov/OWRD/programs/climate/droughtwatch.
The website also answers questions about emergency applications, the state declaration process, and general water supply conditions.
The last drought emergency in Lane County was declared in 2015.