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Drought Emergency

I am researching the Drought in the US.
This spring several Governors and Mayors have declared their regions to be in a Drought Emergency (the highest warning category).
What is a Drought Emergency?
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture defines Drought Emergency in terms of crop damage.
My question is what constitutes a Drought Emergency in the spring, and if it is based on reservoir, ground and surface water levels, and wildfire forest status what phase of Drought category would follow an Emergency category in the Summer months if rain precipitation is low and water consumption increases?
Thanks for your help.
Donald Sutherland
Member of the Society of Environmental Journalists