After days of no rain and above normal temperatures, Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer Service has issued a Stage I Advisory asking for voluntary conservation as a proactive move.
The advisory involves the following: Prepare for decreasing water supply, inform the public about the potential issues of a drought and request voluntary water conservation. The notice is also posted on GMWSS’ website and Facebook.
“We can pull water from the (Royal) Spring for about two hours, then we have to shut down for two-to-three hours,” said Chase Azevedo, GMWSS general manager, at the utility’s board meeting Tuesday. “The Kentucky River is stagnant. We are purchasing about 60% of our water from Frankfort, which uses the Kentucky River. But that is leading to the odor and taste issues.”
The utility started looking at its drought management plan last week and doing a supply assessment, Azevedo said.
“I would be fine with doing a water shortage advisory. That sets conservation goals, prepares for the decreasing water supply, informs the public about the potential problem and requests voluntary conservation,” he said Tuesday. “That is the first stage and I don’t have a problem doing that now.
“We have boxes we have to check to do water conservancy. We don’t have all the boxes checked, but we are getting close. The water treatment plant production is down to 50%. The time to replenish the tanks is taking longer. We are having trouble with water quality. Some of the boxes we haven’t checked yet because we can buy water.
“There are two major questions. Can our plant and our source meet demand? No it can’t. The second is has the Frankfort Plant Board or Kentucky American Water stopped selling water? They have not, nor have they said a word about it.”
GMWSS board members said they were OK starting with the advisory considering the forecast does not indicate any measurable rain in the short term in case the drought worsens and further steps need to be taken.
The water quality, usage rates and the lack of rain were brought up at Monday’s city council meeting.
“Most of you have heard or read about the taste and odor of the water. It is a purely an issue of source of water we are using right now,” said Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather. “The spring is intermittent. It draws down and stops to recharge. The spring is stagnant. The Kentucky River is not moving and is stagnant. This is affecting anyone drawing from the Kentucky River. We are not immune to the water supply.”
“We are doing the best we can to ensure we are putting out a good product. It is a safe for consumption. Doing best with treatment, but when it is as stagnant as it is, not much we can do,” Azevedo said Monday night. “Hopefully we can get a long, sustained rain to recharge the river basin and the spring.”
Steve MCClain can be reached at email@example.com.