Following a week of record-breaking temperatures and a month of little rain, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Monday, June 9, declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties, including Portage County, due to drought or abnormally dry conditions.
The 2012 drought is taking its toll on crops and ground water levels, in addition to the effect on people who are trying to stay cool, according to local officials.
During a state of emergency, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can expedite requests from farmers to divert water from streams and lakes for irrigation. The DNR must inspect the stream or lake in question within 72 hours of the request, to assure that fish and other aquatic life will not be harmed by the diversion.