A report from the Washington DOE revealed that some wells in Whatcom County in the northwestern part of the state are dry, while one water provider was tasked with hauling water in by truck. Officials also announced that another provider will likely start trucking in water soon.
Some farmers are already experiencing the impacts of this year's drier conditions.
David Haakenson, owner and operator of Jubilee Farm, said weather conditions in the area are significantly different this year. The rains have been less frequent, he noted.
While Haakenson is used to adjusting workflow based on the weather, he expressed a desire to see investments in infrastructure to store precipitation from the winter to release during seasons like this one. Although it's a controversial proposal, Haakenson believes that it would help prepare the valley for droughts.
Jimmy Norris, a DOE spokesperson, said at least 350 water customers in the area are affected.
According to an emailed statement from the DOE, the Nooksack River Basin, made up of three water systems near Ferndale, "are operating on emergency status."
Drought concerns stem from warmer than normal temperatures and a lack of rainfall in May and June, reported the DOE.
According to the DOE, Washington received only 49 percent of its usual rainfall. The hot days in June also led to an early runoff of the snowpack that feeds many Washington rivers.
At the same time, the dry weather deprived the soil of "a final shot of moisture before the summer heat arrived."
"This drought is already harming Washington communities, businesses and farms," said Ecology Director Laura Watson in the statement.
Watson also advised that the state must immediately prepare for "a drier future."
Aside from Whatcom County, the DOE declaration covers portions of the following counties:
The rest of Washington, including the Seattle metropolitan area, is considered to be under a drought advisory.
Ecology officials reported that May and June 2023 ranked as the fourth warmest and 11th driest such period since 1895.
July and August are Washington state's driest months, and the National Weather Service's long-range forecast predicts warmer than normal temperatures and below-average rainfall through October. Related: FOOD COLLAPSE INCOMING: Ongoing drought forces farmers to abandon wheat crops.)
The emergency declaration allows state officials to regulate water use and makes available $3 million that can be granted to communities, irrigation districts, tribes and others severely affected by the drought.
Visit Environ.news for more reports on droughts happening across America and the rest of the world.
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