State Agencies Developing Drought Plan for Local Officials Facing Water Shortages

Three state agencies are developing guidelines and real-time resources for city and county officials who may have to restrict water usage during a drought emergency.

Tim Hall of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the first-ever state “drought plan” would leave decisions about limiting water usage to local officials…(audio clip below :19 )

In July, state officials hosted multiple meetings to hear from water utilities, local communities, county emergency managers, and industries that use water. A final virtual meeting is scheduled this (Wednesday) morning with representatives of those groups.

The latest information from the U.S. Drought Mitigation Center shows there are “extreme” drought conditions in four northwest Iowa counties, including Cherokee, but water shortages haven’t dropped to the level of what’s called an “exceptional” drought…(audio clip below :10 )

Hall is the hydrology resources coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. On Thursday, Hall will be issuing a statewide summary of water resources.

The City of Storm Lake implemented mandatory water conservation measures last month, and the City announced this week that the measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the state climatologist, unseasonably dry conditions persisted across Iowa last week and the drought intensified in the state’s northwest corner. Hall says the current situation isn’t as dire as the last major drought of 2012.

(Radio Iowa contributed to this story)