Governor declares drought emergency for much of Western Colorado |

Governor declares drought emergency for much of Western Colorado

Cuyler Meade
Craig Press
This section of the Yampa River in Craig is part of the Yampa River Corridor Project. The city of Craig is making the project part of a plan to diversify the region’s economy with a focus on outdoor recreation.
Heather Sackett/Aspen Journalism

Gov. Jared Polis formally declared a drought emergency Friday for almost two dozen western Colorado counties.

Colorado’s Drought Task Force, Agriculture Impact Task Force and Municipal Water Task Force will remain active and responsive to local needs, a release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board states Friday.

Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Grand, Garfield, Eagle, Summit, Mesa, Delta, Pitkin, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, San Juan, Hinsdale, Dolores, Montezuma, La Plata and Archuleta counties are included in the declaration.

“Spring 2021 precipitation resulted in the stark contrast between significant drought relief for counties east of the Continental Divide and deepening drought and fire danger for the entire Western Slope,” the release read.

A message to the state asking about the impact of the declaration on resources and relief available to the affect counties was not returned Friday. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

“While Colorado can face a range of shortages across the state every year, the cumulative impacts of drought stress our landscapes, reservoir storage, wildfire risks and capacity of many water-dependent economics to rebound from previous year impacts and debts,” the release read. “We continue to work our neighboring states to implement interstate agreements and consider additional potential solutions.”

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