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RE: Drought Emergency

Mr. Sutherland,

Here is a response from the Water Resource Program within the WA State Dept. of Ecology.

Unlike most states, Washington has a statutory definition of drought, consisting of two parts:

      An area has to be experiencing or projected to experience a water supply that is below 75 percent of normal.

      Water users within those areas will likely incur undue hardships as a result of the shortage.

Washington has a specific plan for responding to drought conditions. The general process involves activating specific committees that:

      Monitor water supply conditions.

      Make assessments about the likely impacts of a drought episode.

      Develop programs for addressing the various, identified drought effects.

You can contact Mr. Curt Hart (info below) for more info.

Curt Hart

Public Information Manager

Ecology Water Resources Program


If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.


Kevin Shupe
Dept. of Ecology, NW Regional Office, HWTR
3190 160th Ave. SE

Bellevue, WA  98008
(425) 649-7281 fax: (425) 649-7098

-----Original Message-----
Donald Sutherland [mailto:donaldsutherland-iso14000@worldnet.att.net]
Tuesday, April 16, 2002 7:56 AM
To: p2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: 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