Drought is a prolonged period of dryness severe enough to reduce soil moisture, water and snow levels below the minimum necessary for sustaining plant, animal, and economic systems.

Unlike most states, Washington has a statutory definition of drought (RCW 43.83B.400). According to state law, an area is in a drought condition when:

  •  The water supply for the area is below 75 percent of normal.
  • Water uses and users in the area will likely incur undue hardships because of the water shortage.

Unlike most disasters, droughts normally occur slowly but last a long time.

The Department of Ecology is the lead agency for drought response in Washington State. As such, in February 2014 it convened the first meeting of the state Water Supply Availability Committee (WSAC) which monitors snowpack and water supply conditions and advises the governor on the need for a drought declaration when dry conditions persist.

Drought and Water Supply Information

You can find additional drought and water supply information at the following links: