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County under high drought status

Escambia County has been added as one of 12 counties in south Alabama that has been placed under drought emergency status in the latest Alabama Drought Declaration, which was issued Monday.

The declaration comes following the latest meeting of the Alabama Drought Monitoring and Impact Group. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ (ADECA) 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 added to the drought emergency status, the most severe in the declaration, are Choctaw, Clarke, Dallas, Marengo, Monroe, Washington, Wilcox, Butler, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw and Escambia.

“Well into November, we are continuing to see widespread rainfall deficits and declining streamflow and groundwater levels with no short-term relief in the forecast,” said Tom Littlepage, manager of OWR’s Water Management Unit. “With 58 Alabama counties now listed under Drought Emergency status, we urge water managers to continue carefully monitoring their water sources and implement water conservation measures as needed.”

In other areas of the state, Region 9 in coastal Alabama moved to drought warning status – the second most severe category – and Region 8 in southeast Alabama remained in drought warning 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.

The Monitoring and Impact Group is a subgroup of the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Team, which met Tuesday at the Alabama Center for Commerce in Montgomery. The team provides guidance on drought-related matters to the governor and ADECA’s Office of Water Resources and coordinates intergovernmental drought response and implementation of drought-related activities.

Click here to view the latest Alabama Drought Declaration. Additional drought tools are available 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.