News Feature | August 2, 2017

North Dakota Governor Declares Drought Disaster

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

nj drought reg new

With nearly all of North Dakota languishing in drought conditions, Governor Doug Burgum has declared a disaster in his state.

“The state declaration directs North Dakota officials to coordinate with federal agencies to make drought response programs available and authorizes the North Dakota National Guard to provide personnel, resources and equipment necessary to support drought response efforts,” The Bismarck Tribune reported.

“More than 300 wildfires have been reported to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services since April 1,” KVRR reported.

The governor had already waived fees for commercial vehicles hauling water in drought-affected counties. Previous executive orders allowed the State Water Commission to reactivate certain programs, according to the governor’s office.

“These extreme drought conditions represent a serious economic hardship for our farmers, ranchers and the entire state, while also putting firefighters under considerable stress,” Burgum said in a statement. “This disaster declaration is another step toward providing relief where it’s most needed.”

A great deal of the program is available to assist North Dakotans with the effects of the drought are centered on livestock and crop challenges, per a website set up by the state to detail its drought response.

“Drought conditions have begun to stress corn, soybeans, wheat and livestock in some areas,” the Associated Press reported, citing researchers.

Morton Counties is among the hardest-hit areas of the state. About 8 percent of North Dakota is experiencing “extreme drought,” per the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“We have staff from my office, as well as the county extension and the county highway department, doing everything we can to respond to the ag-related impacts, as well as the increased demands on our area firefighters,” said Tom Doering, the emergency manager for Morton County, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

North Dakota’s neighbor, Montana, is experiencing a drought emergency, as well. Nearly 60 percent of the state is undergoing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“Nearly 11 percent of the continental United States is in moderate drought or worse,” according to the AP.

“Drought conditions worsened in several states over the past week from extreme heat and weeks with little rain, raising the prospect that grocery staples such as bread and beans could cost more as the region that produces those commodities is hardest hit,” the report said.

To read more about the effects of drought visit Water Online’s Source Water Scarcity Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Pulsating," Nicholas A. Tonelli © 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: