Home We need rain: Virginia DEQ expands, extends drought watches, warnings
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We need rain: Virginia DEQ expands, extends drought watches, warnings

Chris Graham
virginia politics
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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has expanded its drought watch advisory to now include 55 counties, with seven counties, including Augusta and Rockingham, under a drought warning advisory.

DEQ, in a Monday news release, reports that recent rain has helped alleviate dry conditions for the short term, but it has not been sufficient to overcome the deficits observed in soil moisture, streamflow, and groundwater levels.

Several factors have contributed to the current advisories, according to the DEQ report. Stream flows across Virginia are below the 25th percentile of normal values and less than the fifth percentile in the Shenandoah, Northern Piedmont, and Northern Virginia regions.

Groundwater levels are currently below the 10th percentile in Northern Virginia, Shenandoah, and Roanoke River, and below the 25th percentile in the Eastern Shore, Big Sandy, Middle James, Northern Piedmont, and York-James regions.

DEQ is working with local governments, public water works, and water users in the affected areas to ensure that conservation and drought response plans and ordinances are followed. All Virginians are encouraged to protect water supplies by minimizing water use, monitor drought conditions, and detect and repair leaks.

See the current drought status on the DEQ website.


The drought warning advisory – a warning means significant drought is imminent – is in effect for Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Page, Warren and Clarke counties, basically the Shenandoah Valley.

A drought watch advisory is intended to help Virginians prepare for a potential drought, and has been declared for the following areas:

  • Middle James: Amherst, Lynchburg, Nelson, Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Prince Edward, Cumberland, Goochland, Amelia, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, Henrico, and Hanover counties
  • Northern Piedmont: Greene, Madison, Rappahannock, Orange, Culpeper, Louisa, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties
  • Roanoke River: Patrick, Franklin, Roanoke, Henry, Bedford, Pittsylvania, Campbell, Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg counties
  • Upper James: Craig, Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Botetourt, and Rockbridge counties

A drought watch advisory remains in effect for the following areas:

  • Eastern Shore: Accomack and Northampton counties
  • Northern Virginia: Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington, and Fairfax counties
  • York-James: Hampton, Newport News, James City, York, Charles City, and New Kent counties

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].