Grays Harbor and Pacific County are now included under a drought emergency declaration.
Gov. Jay Inslee had previously issued a declaration for Okanogan, Methow and Upper Yakima, saying that water supply shortages were projected.
As of this week, nearly half the state is now included under the emergency “due to worsened, poor water supply conditions” and “warmer and drier weather predictions through the summer”.
24 watersheds are now added to the emergency drought declaration:
Chelan, Colville, Cowlitz, Deschutes, Elwha-Dungeness, Entiat, Grays-Elochoman, Kennedy-Goldsborough, Kettle, Lower Chehalis, Lower Skagit-Samish, Lower Yakima, Lyre-Hoko, Naches, Nooksack, Queets-Quinault, Quilcene-Snow, Skokomish-Dosewallips, Soleduc, Stillaguamish, Upper Chehalis, Upper Skagit, Wenatchee, and Willapa.
The governor announced the initial emergency drought declaration April 4 for the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima basins.
The 2019 Legislature appropriated $2 million for drought response. The release from Gov. Inslee says that ecology anticipates funding for public agencies for drought response will be available in early June.
There are two factors considered for any emergency drought declaration: Water supply conditions that are currently or projected to be at or below 75 percent of average, and a projection of undue hardships. The state last declared a drought emergency in 2015.
You can access several resources on Ecology’s website at ecology.wa.gov/drought. You can also report drought-related conditions to the National Drought Mitigation Center.