On July 7, Gov. Laura Kelly issued drought declarations for Kansas counties with Executive Order 20-54. The declaration includes 74 out of 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
Harvey and Butler counties were identified as "Drought Watch" counties.
"Unfortunately, the majority of the state of Kansas has been considered in drought or abnormally dry conditions for the past several weeks, which has led to high risk of fire hazard," Kelly said. "This declaration will allow affected communities to access the water they need. I encourage Kansans to continue to be mindful of drought conditions, and work to minimize the threat of fires across the state."
The drought declaration placed 13 counties in emergency status, 18 into a warning status and 44 into a watch status. This action was recommended by Earl Lewis, director of the Kansas Water Office and chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team. Most of the state has received fewer than 70% of its normal rainfall since January, and many southwestern counties have received less than half of their normal precipitation.
"It has been a very dry winter and spring, especially in western Kansas, and forecasts into the coming summer months predict higher temperatures and fewer chances of precipitation," Lewis said. "The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to monitor the situation closely as future outlooks call for drought persisting and make recommendations to the Governor as necessary."
Counties who are in emergency stage are eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes due to the Kansas Water Office Memorandum of Understanding with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism.
Individuals and communities need to contact KWO for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals from lakes. They will in turn be referred to the appropriate KDWPT office to obtain the necessary permit to withdraw the water.
This executive order shall remain in effect for those counties so identified until rescinded by executive order or superseded by a subsequent executive order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties.
The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to watch the situation closely and work to minimize the effects the drought has on Kansans.
For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at: www.kwo.ks.gov
County Drought Stage Declarations:
Drought Watch: Allen, Anderson, Barton, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Decatur, Dickinson, Edwards, Elk, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Sedgwick, Sheridan, Sumner, Trego, Wilson, Woodson, Wyandotte.
Drought Warning: Barber, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Crawford, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Jewell, Lane, Logan, Meade, Ness, Rawlins, Sherman, Smith, Thomas.
Drought Emergency: Finney, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Morton, Scott, Seward, Stanton, Stevens, Wallace, Wichita.