Because of extremely dry weather, Winchester Municipal Utilities officials are cautioning customers to conserve water voluntarily, and are warning them of what may come if it continues.
During June, Winchester has received 0.88 inches of rain, WMU General Manager Mike Flynn said.
“(The lack of rain) impacts source water or raw water levels, which is the Kentucky River. What we want to convey is that we’ve had a sustained demand that exceeds our normal production levels,” Flynn said. “Our normal production levels at this time of the year are anywhere from 4 million gallons a day to 4.1 million gallons a day. From June 10 through June 24, we’ve seen sustained levels of water treated and pumped to town of approximately 4.6 to 4.7 million gallons a day, which is almost half a million gallons more than normal.”
While there is not a serious problem now, Flynn wants the community aware that if current patterns continue, WMU could have to activate its Emergency Water Conservation Program. That program has three phases.
The first phase is a water shortage advisory, which consists of customer notification of a potential water supply emergency and encourages voluntary water conservation.
The second phase is a water shortage alert, which consists of customer notification of an impending water supply emergency and requires mandatory water conservation. Required actions include the elimination of outdoor water uses, including lawn watering, filling swimming pools and restaurant table water service except where water is requested as the beverage.
The third phase is a water shortage emergency, which consists of customer notification of an actual water shortage emergency that is activated by an actual water supply emergency situation where loss of water supply is probable or eminent. Required actions in this phase include stringent mandatory conservation measures including all measures implemented in phase two plus elimination of non-essential water use by public and private schools, elimination of water use for washing vehicles and the closing of valves on the Washington Street and Lexington Avenue water storage tanks to maintain a minimum fire protection water reserve.
“While we’re not under an advisory at this point in time, I would caution people to conserve water through conservation measures, which will in effect reduce the overall demand that we’re seeing on the water side,” Flynn said. “Everything that we do now moving forward, because all forecasts that we’re seeing are indicating that it’s going to be a very dry summer ... is going to be beneficial as we move forward.”
Flynn said the Kentucky Division of Water can restrict ho wmuch utilites can draw from the Kentucky River if the river drops too much.
Flynn said the dry weather also causes ground movement, which could cause some potential problems.
“With some of the age of the pipes that are in our system, it could cause a line break,” he said. “If we have a significant line break, with the demands we’re seeing, it could cause potential problems within the system. So we are meeting the demands as we’re seeing them and we can meet the demands that we’re seeing.”
Flynn said WMU staff and officials are monitoring water tank levels and pressures within the system on a daily basis.
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