Gov Orders State Agencies to Conserve Water due to Drought

Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday issued a new executive order directing state agencies to curtail nonessential water use, implement water conservation measures, and encourage drought resiliency.

The directive comes as a result of 19 Oregon counties already in declared drought emergencies, and the rest of Oregon facing threats of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The western half of Clackamas County is experiencing a “severe drought” this summer, according to the Monitor.

“Oregon has a strong history of managing and caring for water, but climate change and chronic drought require water conservation and a commitment to working together,” Brown said in a press release.

Many state agencies already have taken steps to make their operations more sustainable and reduce water usage, the governor said.

She said the new executive order will enable state government to respond to the growing water crisis, lead by example, and “show Oregonians that drought is a serious issue — but one that can be managed if we all work together.”

“Many local governments have also curtailed water use on city and county facilities,” she said. “I appreciate their leadership and encourage all local governments in drought-stricken counties to conserve water and begin implementing drought resiliency strategies as we face a worsening drought together.”

Effective today, the executive order directs state agencies that own or manage land or facilities to implement actions that curtail or end the nonessential use of water for landscaping and other exterior features of buildings and grounds, including lawn watering, fountains that do not re-circulate water, and window washing.

Agencies must also institute a moratorium on new, nonessential landscaping projects that require irrigation and place signs and other messaging within state-owned buildings encouraging employees to reduce their use of water inside state-owned buildings.

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