Mass amounts of precipitation across what is now the Western United States have eased the worst megadrought in more than a millennium, but that snow and rain has largely missed central Oregon, CNN reports. Much of Crook County remains in “exceptional drought,” the worst designation given by the U.S. drought monitor, as it has for 87 weeks — the longest of anywhere in the country. The exceptional dearth of precipitation is exacerbated by a centuries-old water rights system built on extraction and Indigenous extermination. “While we’re all experiencing drought, not all drought is equal due to this 100-year-old Western water law that’s been put in place and hasn’t been changed, and that’s serving people very inequitably,” Andrea Smith of the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, told CNN. “But it is a system we’re dealt and working with right now – and there’s a lot we have to do to change it.” That system, the LA Times reports, is under unprecedented scrutiny as growing pressure from tribes, environmental groups, water experts, and the impacts of climate change squeeze the antiquated and byzantine system. “The whole water rights system sits on a foundation of racism and violence,” Max Gomberg, a former State Water Resources Control Board staffer who now works with the environmental group, told the Times. “It needs to be abolished.” (Crook County: CNN; Water system: LA Times $; Climate Signals background: Western megadrought)