As a result of continuing high temperatures and limited rainfall, the Energy and Environment Cabinet has announced a water shortage watch for 27 counties in Kentucky.
Officals say citizens living in these areas should closely monitor local news sources for notification from water suppliers on reducing demands for water.
A water shortage watch is issued when drought conditions have the potential to threaten the normal availability of drinking water supply sources. Officials at the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) study rainfall amounts, reservoir levels, streamflows, the Palmer Drought Index and the Drought Monitor when determining drought status.
Officals say all Kentuckians should increase their awareness of the current drought situation and prepare to make adjustments to their water use.
The following counties, listed by Drought Management Area (DMA), meet the criteria to be included in the water watch:
Barren River DMA – Monroe, Simpson, Warren
Buffalo Trace DMA – Fleming, Robertson
Bluegrass DMA – Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Nicholas, Scott, Woodford
Cumberland Valley DMA – Whitley
Green River DMA – Webster
Kentucky River DMA – Lee, Owsley
Northern Kentucky DMA – Owen, Pendleton
Pennyrile DMA – Crittenden
High temperatures combined with precipitation deficits frequently create surges in the demand for water, often exceeding a water supplier’s ability to meet that demand. Many communities in the Water Shortage Watch areas have issued local water advisories in response to unusually high demands and reduced raw water supplies.
Citizens in the water shortage watch areas should be prepared to reduce water use upon request by their local water supplier.
In areas not included in this water shortage watch, water supply sources remain at acceptable levels, but capacity issues associated with high temperatures and dry conditions have prompted local water advisories in several counties. Citizens across the Commonwealth should heed local water suppliers’ requests for water conservation when local advisories are issued.
In all areas of Kentucky, self-supplied individuals on wells or other small sources should avoid excessive water use and report losses of water supply to their county health department.
State climatologist Stuart Foster said “the combined impact of dry conditions and extremely hot temperatures at this time is causing a one-two punch.”
“An exceptionally dry June throughout the state coupled with some record-high temperatures over the past week have caused drought conditions to intensify and spread eastward to cover most of Kentucky,” said Foster. “The current situation is reminiscent of 1988, while there are some indications that persistence of the current hot and dry pattern that would trigger comparisons to droughts from the 1930s.”
Agriculture has been particularly hard hit in western Kentucky counties.
The following is a statement from Kentucky American Water concerning the water shortage advisory:
"Kentucky American Water wants to confirm that its sources of supply and three treatment plants continue to meet the water needs of its Central Kentucky customers, and that water use restrictions have not been issued for its customers. That said, Kentucky American Water always encourages customers and others
to be good stewards of water, our most precious natural resource."