Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Jefferson County Friday, bringing the number of Oregon counties facing drought conditions to 19 of 36.
Brown’s office declared drought emergencies in Crook and Deschutes counties earlier this year.
Under a drought declaration, state water managers are allowed increased flexibility to ensure limited water supplies are used efficiently.
Snowpack across Oregon was measured at the lowest level seen in 35 years. Melting snow traditionally provides the bulk of water stored in reservoirs for use by farmers and ranchers.
Counties under a declared drought are eligible to apply for federal help assisting landowners with, among other things, planting cover crops to deter erosion on croplands, building emergency livestock watering facilities, and wildfire prevention. Brown is also proposing a $56 million package to assist affected communities with preparing for future drought conditions.
In 2014, drought emergencies were declared in nine Oregon counties.