PORTLAND — Gov. John Kitzhaber has declared drought emergencies in three rural counties.
Commissioners from Grant, Josephine and Wheeler counties requested the action, and they were supported by the Oregon Drought Council.
Drought emergency declarations allow the state to prioritize use of water for human consumption and livestock, and they enable residents hurt by drought to get federal aid.
Kitzhaber previously declared drought emergencies in Harney, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lane and Malheur counties.
He said Monday that the Western drought has counties seeing water shortages, while anticipating low streamflows and increased wildfire risk.