Ecology drought response committee continues to monitor water supplies in Washington
The Department of Ecology and members of the Water Supply Availability Committee (WSAC) continue to monitor extremely dry conditions in certain parts of the state following the August 28, 2014, WSAC meeting. The committee of state and federal agencies monitors snowpack and water supply conditions and advises the Governor on the need for a drought declaration when dry conditions persist. The August 28 meeting was the fourth for WSAC this year and members have agreed to meet again October 31.
Dry conditions and forecasts causing concern in Washington state
As of mid-September, no area of the state is being considered for a drought declaration under criteria outlined in state law. No public water systems or private well owners are reporting water supply problems to the state Department of Health due to drought conditions.
However, the following conditions and forecasts are causing WSAC concern and merit further monitoring of water supplies in certain areas:
Indicators of adequate water supplies
Indications of adequate water supplies in the state include:
The process of a drought declaration
Under state law Ecology may declare a drought emergency if it determines that all or part of a geographical area is suffering from drought conditions. This is done with the written approval of the Governor, acting under the advice of the Water Supply Availability Committee and the state Executive Water Emergency Committee. The geographical area designated for drought funding must be specified.
Unlike most states, Washington has a statutory definition of drought. It requires that two conditions be met and it differs from the drought rating scale applied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The two conditions are:
Once Ecology declares a drought at the direction of the Governor, Ecology can provide drought relief in the form of loans and grants for uses such as:
Drought and water supply information
You can find additional drought and water supply information at the following links:
Drought Insurance Program (DIP) "The legislature tasked OCR with reducing drought risk for interruptible water users"
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