Governor Tina Kotek has issued two more drought declarations in Central Oregon.  The emergency declarations for Deschutes and Grant counties clear the way for state coordination of resources in an area now in its fourth year of drought.


“The soil conditions are actually the most worrying right now," noted state Climatologist Larry O’Neill, sits on the committee that recommended the declaration.  "What that means is there will be a lot of ground left fallow, but of the people who do plant, they’ll be planting crops that don’t use as much water. Because of the dry soils, we actually expect an increased demand in irrigation water when we have very little supply of it.”


Drought emergencies were declared in Crook and Jefferson counties in mid-February.  O’Neill said the recent atmospheric river slamming California with storm after storm just missed Central Oregon.


“Just to the southeast, in Harney, Lake and Malheur counties, there have been some good improvement. These regions haven’t fully recovered from the drought, but they’re seeing some really good partial recovery.”


He said climate change has prolonged the drought and expects the region will experience longer dry cycles in the future.


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail 

More From PNW Ag Network