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Gov. Brown declares drought in Klamath County

The A Canal, seen here in Klamath Falls, diverts water from Upper Klamath Lake into irrigation districts in the Klamath Project. (Herald and News photo)

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday declared a drought in Klamath County.

The declaration allows state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region. Brown said in a news release the Klamath Basin faces one of the most difficult water years in recent memory.

"Moving forward, we must look for long-term solutions to the underlying issue in Klamath and many other Oregon counties: there is too little water to go around. After last year’s wildfire season, we are closely monitoring drought conditions in the Klamath Basin and statewide.”

As of March 31, the snow-water equivalent in Klamath County was 81% of a normal water year, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service. Already dry soils heading into this winter will absorb more of that snow once it melts, causing streamflow forecasts to Upper Klamath Lake to be among the lowest in decades, The Herald and News reported.

Drought, severe weather conditions and the upcoming fire season pose significant threats to the local economy, agriculture and livestock, natural resources and recreation in Klamath County.

On March 9, the Klamath County Commission declared a drought emergency and a state drought declaration was requested.