Drought Conditions Worsen Across Kentucky

By: Rob Hopkins Email
By: Rob Hopkins Email

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) June 7, 2007 – State water officials are encouraging the practice of water conservation as rainfall deficits continue to build across Kentucky.

“We are experiencing hot, dry conditions that are usually associated with the summer months of July, August and September,” said Bill Caldwell of the Kentucky Division of Water. “These conditions have the potential of impacting water supplies across the state.”

Tuesday’s showers and thunderstorms brought short-term relief to some areas but were not sufficient to ease the moderate-to-severe drought developing across the state. The outlook for the next six to 10 days indicates another chance for showers and thunderstorms over the weekend and above-normal temperatures in the 90s.

“This is the time to resist watering lawns, hosing down sidewalks and patios and filling swimming pools,” said Caldwell. “It is also the time to take seriously the requests of water suppliers to conserve water. Management of short-term problems related to unusually high demand for water can be accomplished, but it requires the cooperation of all water users.”

Rainfall deficits of several inches at the end of April worsened in May when Kentucky received half its usual rainfall. Current rainfall deficits range from six to 10 inches across large parts of west, central and eastern Kentucky to four to eight inches in parts of northern and south-central Kentucky and areas along the Ohio River.

Over the next few months, normal rainfall plus an additional six to seven inches will be needed to return the Palmer drought status to a “normal” condition.

Low stream flow, another consequence of rainfall shortages, was observed as early as February of this year, with sporadic relief from occasional rain in March and April.

“For most of May, stream flows declined across a large portion of Kentucky and many gauged streams located in the four climatic divisions now have flow that is severely-to-extremely low,” said Caldwell.

While there have been no reports of water supply shortages due to the lack of rainfall, unusually high demands for water have placed a burden on water treatment, storage and distribution systems in 12 counties. In the past two weeks, reports of low water pressure, boil water advisories or no water service have come from Bourbon, Casey, Estill, Garrard, Grant, Harrison, Mercer, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Shelby and Woodford counties.

For more information on water availability and conservation tips, visit http://www.water.ky.gov/wateruse/

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