Department of Ecology News Release - June 25, 2024

Ecology offers $1.7 million in drought planning and preparedness grants

As droughts become more frequent, communities are being encouraged to prepare for a drier future. Ecology recently offered $1.7 million in Drought Planning and Preparedness Grants to help communities develop drought resilience. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 


Despite some wet weather in parts of the state in recent weeks, much of Washington remains under a drought declaration, with low snowpack and insufficient reservoir storage to meet water supply needs in the hot months ahead. Droughts are becoming more common in Washington – six of the past 10 years have seen drought declarations in all or part of our state.

To help Tribes, farmers and communities better plan and prepare for the impacts of drought, the Washington Department of Ecology is offering $1.7 million through a new grant program.

These drought planning and preparedness grants were authorized by the state legislature last year and are intended to support communities in the development of drought preparedness plans aimed at increasing drought resiliency and water supply security. These plans will identify the actions, costs and timeframes a local community must deal with to increase its water supply security.

The challenges associated with drought are expected to grow in the years ahead due to climate change – which will reduce winter snowpack and accelerate spring runoff, leading to drier summers across much of the state.

“Washington is experiencing drought conditions more frequently and it’s critical that we invest in drought planning and preparedness now, to build community resiliency to drought and the impacts of climate change,” said Ria Berns, Ecology’s Water Resources program manager. “Research indicates that drought impacts will continue to increase. Our communities need help to ensure the security of their water supplies.”

Ecology funded six proposals in the initial round of preparedness grants:

  • City of Brewster – $115,500
  • Lincoln County Conservation District – $156,000
  • Okanogan Conservation District – $484,122
  • Snoqualmie Indian Tribe – $150,000
  • Wahkiakum Public Utility District – $395,000
  • Walla Walla Conservation District – $219,137

These new drought planning and preparedness grants are distinct from Ecology’s long-standing drought response grants.

Drought planning and preparedness grants will fund local drought preparedness plans, which must include projects that will increase drought resiliency and water security in that area.

Examples of these types of projects include green infrastructure, supply and demand practices, as well as watershed management, technical assistance, and data collection. While designed to benefit all members of a given community, these plans will prioritize the water supply security for minority, low-income, tribal, or other overburdened members of that community.

Contact information

Jimmy Norris
Communications Manager