Drought


Background


The lack of precipitation and resulting low snow pack in the Cascades in 2005 resulted in Governor Christine Gregoire authorizing the Department of Ecology to declare a drought emergency in Washington on March 10, 2005.


According to Washington laws and agency rules: "Drought conditions" are water supply conditions where a geographical area or a significant part of a geographical area is receiving, or is projected to receive, less than seventy-five percent of normal water supply as the result of natural conditions and the deficiency causes, or is expected to cause, undue hardship to water users within that area


In Washington, we have drought conditions every year to some extent.  It rains very little between July and September, particularly on the Eastern side of the Cascade mountains. Last year’s drought emergency highlights the vulnerability of our water resources—we’re living on the edge of water availability because the state has overtapped our rivers and streams.  Washington has a 150-year history of allowing people to use water without knowing whether it is really available.  Now we’re bumping into the limits of our water supplies and we feel the pinch of relying on a scarce resource when we have lower than normal precipitation and snowpack.


We have no control over the weather, but what we can do is take steps to use water more efficiently.  For more information on what you can do to conserve water, click here.


Related Links


The Department of Ecology has a site that includes its drought response activities.

 

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