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Governor updates drought emergency, warnings, watches
Handful of area counties on the list
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County Drought Stage Declarations
Drought emergency – the most severe: Cheyenne, Clark, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita.
Drought warning: Atchison, Barber, Comanche, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewel, Johnson, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Miami, Osage, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Shawnee and Wyandotte.
Drought watch: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Geary, Harper, Kingman, Lyon, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington and Woodson.

TOPEKA – Extreme drought conditions continue for western Kansas while central and eastern counties see improvement. This has led Governor Sam Brownback to update the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an Executive Order 13-02 today. For the first time since July 2012 conditions have improved enough to remove or decrease the emergency drought status for some Kansas counties. 
As for area counties, Ness and Russell still fall in the drought emergency category, the most severe. Pawnee and Rush counties fall in the drought warning, the second most severe classification.
“We are thankful recent rains have helped remove 23 counties from a drought designation,” said Governor Sam Brownback.  “Unfortunately, our state continues to battle drought as most of the state remains in some level of drought status.” 
The updated drought declaration has moved 20 counties into a warning status and 25 into a watch status while 37 counties continue to be in emergency. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team. 
“Our focus is to ensure communities, livestock producers and farmers have the available resources they need,” said Tracy Streeter. “With most federal reservoirs refilling and streamflow restored by rains over the past few weeks, the concerns have lessened, however we remain very cautious as we compare where we are today to last year based on total soil moisture and precipitation amounts. Some areas of western Kansas are behind more than 10 inches in soil moisture.”
Counties who are still in emergency stage remain 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. Emergency haying and grazing is also still available for those counties on counties on a case-by-case request to the USDA –Farm Service Agency.
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. For emergency haying and grazing, requests need to be directed to:
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.  Effective immediately:
• Declare a Drought Emergency, Warning or Drought Watch for the counties identified below;
• Authorize and direct all agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to implement the appropriate watch or warning level-drought response actions assigned in the Operations Plan of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.
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: