Governor posts drought info

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has decided that the best place for people to see up-to-date information about the drought in his state is from his own Web site.

The governor's site (www.governor.state.or.us) now carries a "Drought Emergency Information" label that visitors can click on to access state and federal drought data.

Other state agencies carry drought information, but it's not the first place people usually go to get that kind of information, said Jon Coney, a spokesperson for Kitzhaber,

"We've found that, when there's a disaster of any sort, the first place people usually call is the governor's office," he said, "and that also seems to be true of people who use the Web."

It's the first time this kind of information has been posted on the governor's site, which has been online since 1995. However, a severe drought has hit Oregon this year, and inquiries to Kitzhaber's office have increased dramatically in the past few months.

In addition to state and federal agency links, the Web site also carries the latest county disaster request status, a drought map, news releases, the governor's disaster declarations and his correspondence to the federal government.

Governments increasingly are taking to the Internet to publicize this kind of event-specific information. Montana recently revealed that it was tracking water measurements in real time and displaying those results on the Web in order to highlight drought-prone areas. And Palo Alto, Calif., tackled the issue of too much water by opening a Web site that shows how fast creeks are rising.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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