By Marty Finley/Staff writer
Sixty-one counties in Kentucky have been placed under a water shortage watch according to a press release issued on Friday by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.
“All Kentuckians should be aware of the current drought situation and prepare to make adjustments to their use of water,” according to the statement.
The water shortage watch is located primarily in southeastern and central Kentucky and southern Kentucky is declared severe, according to the press release.
Knox, Laurel and Whitley counties are included in the severe area of the state.
A water shortage watch is implemented when the supplies of drinking water within an area may be reduced or compromised.
Dr. Stuart Foster, a Kentucky climatogolist, said the lack of precipitation in the state over the last four months has placed Kentucky in one of the driest years since 1895.
Bill Caldwell, an official at the Division of Water, said the affected drought area has had a rainfall deficit of approximately 12-13 inches since Jan. 1.
Caldwell said the proposed weather outlook does not reveal any weather patterns that could begin reversing the problem either.
However, he said the water shortage watch is not intended to frighten people about water running out, but rather to warn of possible reduced water supplies in the future. He said people should stay updated on what is happening with their water suppliers. He also said people should use some restraint where they can.
“Stay aware,” he said. “If you’ve got lawns that are three fourths brown, you shouldn’t keep watering them.”
Caldwell said the Laurel River Reservoir and Wood Creek lake in Laurel County are both excellent water suppliers for the area and there is no danger of shortage in the near future.
Knox and Whitley both lie on the Cumberland River, which is suffering a massive shortage, but Caldwell said there is no imminent danger of water running out in these areas either.
But he said as the summer presses on, the increased heat and lack of rain could cause some problems.
“What concerns us is the level of high demands in the next two weeks,” he said
The drought is expected to continue in Kentucky and spread farther south into Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet advises water suppliers within the water shortage watch area to update their water supply level often and report any possible shortages.
If you would like more information about the drought or tips on conserving water, visit the Division of Water Web site at http://www.water.ky.gov/wateruse/drought.
Tri-County included in severe area of state
By Marty Finley/Staff writer
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