Governor updates drought declarations in Kansas counties

While there have been some recent rains, drought conditions for many areas of Kansas continue to worsen. Last week, Governor Jeff Colyer updated the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an executive order. The update includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status. This order places nearly 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,” Governor Colyer said. “I’ve heard many concerns from producers and have seen the conditions first hand. We appreciate our federal partners at the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well as the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts — when we asked them to identify additional sources of assistance they responded quickly to help producers address these extreme drought conditions.”

The updated drought declaration has 50 counties in emergency status, 27 in warning status while 28 counties are in watch status. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

“With reported livestock water shortages, low flows at some of our reservoirs and monthly outlooks favoring persistent drought we know it’s imperative to monitor conditions closely,” said Tracy Streeter. “Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 15 inches in moisture for the year and outlooks favor above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation in July.”

Counties in emergency stage are eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes due to the KWO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kansas Department of Wildlife (KDWPT). They also become eligible for water in some Federal reservoirs.

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 office to obtain the necessary permit to withdraw the water.

This executive order and any authorized upgrade shall remain in effect for those counties so identified until rescinded by executive order or superseded by a subsequent executive order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties.

County Drought Stage Declarations are as follows:

Drought Emergency — Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Clark, Clay, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Geary, Grant, Gray, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Morris, Morton, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Seward, Shawnee, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner and Wabaunsee;

Drought Warning — Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Brown, Chautauqua, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Franklin, Greeley, Jackson, Jefferson, Lane, Leavenworth, Montgomery, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Rush, Russell, Scott, Trego, Wallace, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.

Drought Watch — Bourbon, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Cloud, Crawford, Decatur, Gove, Graham, Jewell, Johnson, Labette, Linn, Logan, Marshall, Miami, Mitchell, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Washington and Wyandotte.

For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at www.kwo.ks.gov.

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