County commissioners voted unanimous to declare a drought state of emergency in Jackson County. Music to County Watermaster Travis Kelly ears. He said "this year potentially has been the lowest snowpack on record and so that's really going to affect the live stream flows for all the tributaries of the Rogue and Applegate Rivers.
At last check, the Rogue Basin is at only 60% of total average precipitation and even more concerning average snowpack is at a mere 31%.
If Governor John Kitzhaber approves the emergency drought declaration it will open up some options for the Oregon Water Resource Department. Kelly said "it will allow temporary transfers or placements of water, where you could switch from diverting water from a stream that's affected by the drought to a ground water source specifically a well."
Governor Kitzhaber has until April 14th to review the emergency declaration. County commissioners said they are confident that he will approve it.
The governor has already approved the emergency declaration in four of our neighbor counties including Lake and Klamath.