The Grand County Council has officially declared the county a disaster area because of drought. On Tuesday, Jan. 16, council members unanimously approved a letter proposed by Grand County Emergency Services Manager Rick Bailey that issued the declaration.
Though the letter invokes no particular immediate action, “I think it’s a good point to get out ahead of the curve on this,” said Council Member Evan Clapper.
“It’s not going to funnel any immediate dollars or programs down,” Bailey said, but “It encourages federal agencies … to do something,” should the county or its residents require aid due to the drought later on.
“Agricultural people are the ones that are really seeing the impact,” Bailey said. The U.S. Department of Agricultural has drought-assistance financial programs that can help see farmers and ranchers through droughts.
Bailey said culinary water systems look okay at this point, but he has some concern about the Thompson Springs area. “If we have a declaration,” he said, “it’s something we have in place if we have to move.”
The outlook for the drought, according to meteorologists from federal and state agencies, is that it will continue and even worsen through at least the next 60 to 90 days. The disaster declaration by the county will be up for renewal every 30 days until the drought is deemed to be over.