California has been getting the tons of attention for the historic drought, but it is not only one state that experiences severe economic impacts on agriculture and natural resources. The drought is officially declared in the state of Oregon.
According to the final Water Supply Review for 2015, the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Oregon's snowpack in the winter of 2015 peaked at the lowest levels ranked in the last 35 years. Numerous snow monitoring sites set records for the lowest peak snowpack and earliest melt-out date since measurements began. Streamflow is presumed to be well below normal through the end of summer, especially in the driest regions of the state. The current statewide average precipitation is 88%.
In western Oregon, the snowpack topped 60-90% below the normal amounts. The snow melted three months earlier. The snowpack in the Eastern Oregon was insignificantly better, peaking 30-80% below average levels and up to 2 months earlier than usual. Lack of normal snowpack has led to lowest streamflow for the state. According to the National Drought Monitor, most of Oregon is included in the severe to extreme drought group. In 2015, Governor Kate Brown declared a drought state of emergency in 15 counties, as a result, and water shortages across Oregon are expected.
The official drought is in place for 2015 in the following counties: Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Gilliam, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Josephine,Jackson, Jefferson, Klamath, Lane, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Union, Umatilla, Wasco and Wheeler. Lynn County requested drought declaration on August 19, 2015.
For homeowners in the state of Oregon, limited water supplies means the necessity to cut down water used for landscape irrigation. Water Resources Department suggests to water before 10 am in the morning to prevent water evaporation, fungus, and other lawn diseases. But water costs are rising across the country. In the city of Portland, Oregon, the rate in 2015-2016 is $3.940 per unit compared to $3.682 in 2014-2015. Water in Oregon is cheaper than in California where in 2015, the single-family household is charged $4.86 per unit, $6.52 for each additional unit after four used, and $12.40 for all wastewater units. There is no tiered pricing for Oregon water users yet. But as drought spreads, water agencies will increase prices to encourage businesses and residents to conserve water.