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Water resources at or near all-time lows, prompting commissioners to ask the governor to declare a drought emergency

FILE - Irrigation systems like this one in Central Oregon are facing a dire lack of water. For the second year in a row, Jefferson County Commissioners have asked the governor to declare a drought emergency for the county.

Governors granted Jefferson County this relief eight times in the past 30 years.

Wickiup Reservoir, the source of the county's water, had its lowest peak this year since it began operating 72 years ago.

The U.S. drought monitor places much of Jefferson County in severe drought status.

Many areas of the county received less than a quarter of average precipitation in March.

Making matters worse, the extended forecast calls for higher than normal temperatures and lower than average precipitation.

These drought conditions pose hardships for farmers and ranchers and sets up conditions for a severe wildfire season.

A governor's emergency declaration makes more resources available to the people in the county hurt by the dry conditions.

Nine other counties have also requested drought emergency declarations this year: Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Baker, Douglas, Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla and Wheeler.


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