Malheur County issues drought emergency declaration in a bid to seek state aid

A recent drought declaration by the Malheur County Court is one step toward mitigating what is shaping up to be a dismal irrigation season for area ranchers and farmers. (The Enterprise/FILE).

VALE – Rob and Lacey Elder are two ranchers familiar with lean water years but 2022 is already shaping up to be exceptional in terms of the severity and long-term risk triggered by drought.

“We bought this place in 2012 and we had several dry years the first few years but this is the worst we’ve had so far,” said Kristi Elder.

Water holes on the Elder Ranch in Riverside are already dry. The level of water at the nearby Warm Spring Reservoir stands at 15% full.

Last year Lacey Elder said the ranch ran out of water in mid-August. That . . .