Drought emergency declared in Washington

071421 Wa Drought Map
Copyright 4 News Now

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Inslee announced Wednesday a drought emergency declaration affecting most of Washington.

A drought is declared when the water supply is expected to fall below 75% of average, with people likely to face difficulties getting constant water. This is most often caused by lack of precipitation, little snowpack and generally warmer temperatures compared to normal.

Inslee made the announcement with Ecology director Laura Watson, attributing the drought to climate change, which has exacerbated wildfires and dry conditions for the past several years.

Making the declaration allows the Washington State Department of Ecology to speed up drought permits, transfer water rights, open funding for public agencies and launch public education workshops.

The state will consult their Drought Contingency Plan, which was put to use when droughts were declared in 2015 and 2019. These efforts aim to support state agriculture, public water supplies and water wildlife.

This drought emergency encompasses all of Washington except for the Seattle, Tacoma and Everett metro regions.