CONTACT: Irina Calos

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February 1, 2024


Drought warning advisory downgraded for seven counties in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va.The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in coordination with the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, has downgraded the drought warning advisory for seven counties within the Commonwealth to a drought watch advisory status. Although recent rains have helped alleviate deficits in soil moisture, streamflows, and groundwater levels, 22 counties continue to remain under a drought watch advisory.

The drought warning advisory previously issued for the Shenandoah region has been downgraded to a drought watch advisory, which includes Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Page, Warren, and Clarke counties.

A drought watch advisory, which is intended to help Virginians prepare for a potential drought also remains in effect for the following areas:

  • Big Sandy: Lee, Wise, Buchanan, Dickenson, Scott, Russell, Tazewell, Washington, and Smyth counties
  • Upper James: Craig, Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Botetourt, and Rockbridge counties

Several factors have contributed to the improving drought conditions. Much of the Commonwealth has experienced above average precipitation during the past month. However, long-term precipitation deficits remain in the Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia (Upper James and Big Sandy regions). Streamflows have improved and are currently above the 25th percentile throughout the Commonwealth. Groundwater levels continue to improve throughout the Commonwealth but remain below the 10th percentile within the Shenandoah and Big Sandy regions. Lake Moomaw, located in the Upper James region, has observed increase inflows over the past month resulting in a slight recovery of water level, however these levels remain significantly below average. These metrics are expected to further improve with significant precipitation forecasted over the coming days. 

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. 



About DEQ

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality protects and enhances Virginia’s environment and promotes the health and well being of the citizens of the commonwealth. We are committed to cleaner water, improved air quality and the productive reuse of contaminated land.

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