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Governor updates drought emergencies, warnings


Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA — Despite recent rains, drought conditions in Kansas continue to worsen. Today, Gov. Sam Brownback updated the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with Executive Order 14-04. The update includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status. This order places more than half of Kansas counties in an emergency drought status.

“Kansans need to know no matter where you live in the state, the drought is not over. Some areas have been experiencing drought for almost five years,” Brownback said.  “Continued below normal precipitation patterns are not only depleting the little soil moisture we have, but is resulting in below normal levels in our reservoirs and further decline of our stream flow conditions.”

The updated drought declaration has moved 26 counties into a warning status and 23 into a watch status, while 56 counties are in emergency status. The action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office and chairman of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

“It is imperative we closely monitor conditions for the state as they could deteriorate quickly with no reserves as we start to enter warmer and drier months,” Streeter said. “Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 7 inches in soil moisture, and the seasonal outlook shows increased drought conditions shifting farther east than originally projected.”

Counties still in emergency stage remain eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes due to the Kansas Water Office Memorandum of Understanding with the Kansas Department of Wildlife.

Individuals and communities need to contact KWO for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals from lakes. They will in turn be referred to the appropriate KDWPT office to obtain the necessary permit to withdraw the water.

The executive order shall remain in effect for those counties so identified until rescinded by executive order or superseded by a subsequent executive order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties. Effective immediately:

• Declare a Drought Emergency, Warning or Drought Watch for the counties identified below;

• Authorize and direct all agencies under the jurisdiction of the governor to implement the appropriate watch or warning level-drought response actions assigned in the operations plan of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to watch the situation closely and work to minimize the effects the drought has on Kansans. For more detailed information about conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at www.kwo.org

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County drought stage declarations:

Drought Emergency: Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Lyon, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton,  Pawnee, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Rice, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita

Drought Warning: Cherokee, Cloud, Coffey, Crawford, Dickinson, Douglas, Elk, Greenwood, Jewell, Labette, Marion, McPherson, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Phillips, Rooks, Republic, Saline, Smith, Washington, Wilson

Drought Watch: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Brown, Clay, Doniphan, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Marshall, Miami, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Woodson, Wyandotte.