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Drought Monitoring and Impact Group upgrades 18 counties to ‘drought emergency’

Image: MGN Online

Image: MGN Online

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – An additional 18 Alabama counties have been placed under drought emergency level in the latest Alabama Drought Declaration issued Tuesday following the latest meeting of the Drought Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG).

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Office of Water Resources issued the revised declaration in accordance with the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act of 2014.

The declaration is based on a review of current and anticipated conditions and reported impacts, including rainfall, streamflow, reservoir and groundwater levels.

The counties in west and east-central Alabama added to the Drought Emergency status, the most severe drought declaration, are:
Region 2: Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa
Region 6: Autauga, Bullock, Elmore, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery and Russell

“As we enter into November, we continue to see little to no rainfall and low streamflow and well levels in most of the state,” said Tom Littlepage, manager of OWR’s Water Management Unit. “With conditions continuing to dry out, public water systems, as well as other users of large amounts of water, are encouraged to carefully monitor conditions and prepare to implement their drought conservation plans in the event that the situation worsens.”

Other areas of the state were moved to a more severe status in today’s updated advisory. Regions 5, 7 and 8 in south Alabama moved to Drought Warning status, the second most severe category. Region 9 in coastal Alabama remained in Drought Advisory status.

ADECA’s OWR serves as the state’s lead office for drought planning, monitoring and response activities and works with local water systems, agricultural producers, reservoir operators and industries to encourage water conservation to mitigate negative impacts associated with declining water levels.

OWR convenes regular meetings of the Drought MIG which collects and analyzes drought-related data and weather forecasts for updates Alabama drought declaration advisories and changes to Alabama’s input in the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map. The group is currently meeting about every two weeks with its next meeting set for Nov. 14.

The Drought MIG is a subgroup of the Alabama Drought Planning and Assessment Team. The team will meet at 10 a.m. Nov. 15 at the Alabama Center for Commerce in Montgomery.

OWR also recently debuted new drought tools on ADECA’s website at http://water.alabama.gov, including a list of all restrictions and drought impacts reported to OWR and a data portal that displays streamflow data and statistics for about 70 sites across Alabama.

“We will continue to work with our partners to carefully monitor the situation and provide the latest information to local water systems and issue updated drought declarations as conditions warrant,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “Additionally, I encourage everyone to take advantage of OWR’s latest tools which are now available on the ADECA website.”