City issues mandatory water restrictions

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The Booneville Water District is asking people to avoid any unnecessary water usage until further notice.

The lack of rain has affected people all over the state, but some areas are finding less ways to cool off because they have to conserve what little water they have during the drought. People in Owsley County are being told not to wash their cars, fill their pools, or even water what is left of their lawns. Some have found creative ways to beat the heat.

Folks in Booneville are trying to cool down as the temperatures go up. One mother decided to help her daughter and two friends start a lemonade stand.

“It’s very, very hot, something fun to do in the hot weather,” said Wendy Patrick.

Patrick sold lemonade with the three girls along a road in Booneville in the shade. The city has been placed under a mandatory water ban until further notice.

“It will be in affect until we get some sort of substantial rainfall,” said the Superintendent of the Water and Sewage District in Booneville, David Hall.
“It will probably take several rain events unless we get something over a couple day period.”

Hall said the main water source, the river, is just about tapped out.

“People understand that we pump from the river,” said Hall.
“Obviously if there is no water in the river, than we cannot produce water.”

The fire chief said they are also under a burn ban like many other areas. Chief Bart Patton of the Booneville/Owsley Volunteer Fire Department said they usually use city water to fight fires but lately they have been coming to the South Fork of the Kentucky River to refill their tanks when necessary. Hall said if they are out in rural areas of the county, it could be a little bit more difficult to control a blaze.

“It is concerning, if you get out into the outreaches of the county, this opportunity is not there, being able to draft from a river,” said Patton.
“Some of the creeks are strong, have deep holes in them and are strong enough to handle a little bit of draft, but this is our best option right here.”

For now, around 5,000 people will have to deal with this rare dry spell.

“This is kind of a once in ten to twenty year event,” said Hall.
“You can't control the weather.”

Water officials said they are working on a back up plan with the state to get a permit to build a dam in the river if the lack of rain continues.

Hall said they are asking customers to limit water usage to essential purposes, such as cooking and bathing.

Officials said water usage has reached a critical point. They said they issued the advisory because of the lack of rain in the forecast for the next week and the above average temperatures.

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