MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Jackson County commissioners declared a local drought disaster Wednesday and will ask the state to help industries feeling the effects of a dry winter.
Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture reports show the snowpack in the Rogue Basin is 31 percent of average.
The Mail Tribune reports the Mt. Ashland Ski Area failed to open for the winter because of a lack of snow. County officials expect agricultural businesses to suffer as well. Irrigation districts could be forced to curtail water use later this summer.
If Gov. John Kitzhaber declares a drought disaster in Jackson County, the State Water Resources Department could prioritize water rights for human consumption and livestock.
Dry conditions also could lead to an early start to the summer wildfire season.
Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/