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Governor makes changes to drought declaration for Kansas counties

Persistent rains in the eastern half of Kansas have prompted Governor Brownback to make changes to the drought declaration for the state.

For the first time since July 2012, conditions have improved enough to remove ore decrease the emergency drought status for some Kansas counties, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office.All 105 counties in Kansas were included in the emergency drought declaration in July 2012.

But 23 counties in Kansas – including Sedgwick, Harvey, Reno and Butler in the Wichita metropolitan area – have been removed from the drought declaration.

Executive Order 13-02 updates the drought declaration for Kansas counties.

"We are thankful recent rains have helped remove 23 counties from a drought designation," Brownback said in the prepared statement. "Unfortunately, our state continues to battle drought as most of the state remains in some level of drought status."

The update moves 20 counties into a warning status and 25 into a watch status. An emergency remains in effect for 37 counties in far western Kansas.

Some areas of western Kansas are behind more than 10 inches in soil moisture, said Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office and chair of the Governor's Drought Response Team.

Counties still in emergency stage remain eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes. Emergency haying and grazing is also still available for those counties on a case-by-case request.

Drought Emergency:Cheyenne, Clark, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita

Drought Warning:Atchison, Barber, Comanche, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewel, Johnson, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Miami, Osage, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Shawnee, Wyandotte

Drought Watch:Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Geary, Harper, Kingman, Lyon, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Woodson