Drought

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Drought conditions are getting worse in Washington state.

Tuesday, lawmakers will decide whether to provide emergency funding to the state’s hardest-hit areas. Snowpack levels are lower than ever, rivers are drying out and irrigation districts are cutting off water to farmers.

Ore. Governor Declares More Drought Emergencies

May 22, 2015
Bert Kaufmann

Governor Kate Brown declared drought emergencies in eight additional counties around Oregon Friday, bringing the total to 15.

She also released a public service announcement launching #ORdrought.

“It may look green now, but we are going to experience one of the worst droughts in the history of our state. Snow pack is at historic lows and severe water shortages are nearly a certainty in many areas,” says Brown.

Brown added that it’s likely to be a difficult fire season.

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency Friday.

He says snowpack levels are at unprecedented lows, rivers are drying out and irrigation districts are cutting off water to farmers.

NOAA

Regional power managers are meeting in Portland this week. One issue they're looking at is how drought conditions across the Northwest may affect the region's supply of hydropower.

Water supply forecasts are looking bleak for many Northwest rivers this year. Snowpack levels in many areas are far below average, and they're not likely to improve.

John Fazio is a power systems analyst for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. He said that will mean less water in rivers and less hydropower.

A drive across the Northwest quickly reveals things look really dry everywhere.

From Wenatchee, Washington, to Bend, Oregon, whitewater rafting guides are preparing for a flood of business as school lets out. But this year’s low snowpack could mean less whitewater and more demand for trips.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Friday significantly expanded a drought declaration due to dwindling snowpack.

Across the Northwest, farmers are already making tough calls because of this year’s drought. The dismal snowpack is to blame.

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered statewide mandatory water saving measures Wednesday. Water managers are preparing for drought in Oregon and Washington state as well.

Federal agencies have expanded how much of the Northwest they think is suffering from drought.

An updated map released Thursday shows 88 percent of Idaho's territory is now categorized in moderate to severe drought. Just over half of Oregon is similarly parched. Washington state is faring better with just a sliver of land on the Idaho border classified in drought conditions.

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