SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state Drought Council has endorsed seven more county drought declarations and sent them on to the governor.

Water Resources Department spokeswoman Racquel Rancier says the council on Thursday forwarded drought declarations from Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow and Umatilla counties to the governor’s office.

The governor’s declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible.

According to the state Water Resources Department website, 14 of Oregon’s 36 counties have declared drought disasters, and the governor has followed up with declarations in seven of them. Federal declarations, which make it possible to apply for drought loans and aid payments, have been made in 15 counties.

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