COOS COUNTY — A drought declaration passed by Coos County Commissioners last month was approved Friday, May 15 by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
The governor’s declaration, which expires Dec. 31, will authorize state agencies to expedite water management tools to local officials as to way to quickly begin mitigation activities to address the county’s ongoing water issues.
According to the order, extremely low streamflow and hot, dry conditions in Coos County led to the governor’s declaration.
With forecasted water supply conditions not expected to improve, the drought is likely to have significant economic impacts on the county’s farm, forest, recreation, drinking water and natural resource sectors, which depend on rainfall and streamflow throughout the county, said the order.
A map from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated frequently, shows as of Thursday, May 14, a majority of the county is experiencing severe and extreme drought conditions.
At a commissioner’s board meeting on April 24, Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins informed the board that the local water master and regional water director both expressed their concerns with the county’s domestic water wells going dry and not recovering.
Warm, dry weather combined with below-normal rainfall have contributed to this year’s drought conditions, said Coos County Emergency Management program manager and Coos County Sheriff’s Cpt. Gabe Fabrizio in a previous interview with The World.
Under the declaration, the Oregon Water Resources Department and Water Resources Commission have been directed to help and coordinate with the county’s water users as they determine necessary. The Office of Emergency Management has also been directed to provide assistance to Coos County as well as other state agencies.
The declaration in Coos County follows behind similar declarations passed earlier this year in Curry, Jackson and Klamath counties.