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Gov. Brown directs state agencies to conserve water amid widespread drought

Every corner of the state is in moderate, severe, extreme, or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor — with the worst conditions dominating central Oregon.

Posted: Jul 7, 2021 12:53 PM
Updated: Jul 7, 2021 12:53 PM

SALEM, Ore. — With the entire state of Oregon currently in some degree of drought, Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order on Wednesday directing state agencies to conserve water wherever possible.

Of Oregon's 36 counties, 19 have declared a drought emergency. Every corner of the state is in moderate, severe, extreme, or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor — with the worst conditions dominating central Oregon.

"Oregon has a strong history of managing and caring for water, but climate change and chronic drought require water conservation and a commitment to working together," said Governor Brown. "Many state agencies already have taken steps to improve the sustainability of their operations, including actions to reduce water usage. Through this Executive Order, state government can respond to this growing crisis, lead by example, and show Oregonians that drought is a serious issue—but one that can be managed if we all work together.

"At the same time, it is critically important that we keep in mind how curbing water in public places may affect vulnerable Oregonians who may turn to public sources of water for relief from hot weather, and adjust as appropriate."

Executive Order 21-20 directs state agencies that own or manage land and facilities to curtail or halt non-essential water use for landscaping and other exterior features, including lawn watering, fountains that don't re-circulate water, and window washing. It also begins a moratorium on new non-essential landscaping projects that require irrigation.

State agencies are also directed to place signs and other messaging encouraging state employees to reduce non-essential water use in their duties.

"Many local governments have also curtailed water use on city and county facilities," Brown continued. "I appreciate their leadership and encourage all local governments in drought-stricken counties to conserve water and begin implementing drought resiliency strategies as we face a worsening drought together.

"Oregonians can do their part, as well. I encourage everyone to be conscious of water usage and to take steps to reduce water use whenever possible."

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