As dry conditions persist throughout the state, Kentucky Emergency Management is encouraging local officials to plan possible water conservation efforts.

Sixty-six Kentucky counties have been classified as experiencing level 1 drought while 24 are under the more severe level 2 drought designation. Level 2 drought has been declared in Christian, Todd, Trigg, Caldwell and Muhlenberg counties.

The state’s Drought and Water Emergency Team comes together when the state is experiencing significant drought conditions. The team, which includes officials from Kentucky Emergency Management, the Kentucky Division of Water and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, met Monday to discuss the long range effects of the drought on Kentucky’s water supply.

According to a news release from the state, water levels for Kentucky’s rivers and lakes are near historic lows, particularly for this time of year. John Heltzel, director of KYEM, encouraged county officials to consider the long-term effects of the drought conditions.

“At this point, there are no significant water shortages, but local officials would be wise to consider the reliability of their water sources and to make contingency plans if drought threatens those supplies,” Heltzel said.

State officials also are asking citizens to implement their own water-conservation measures, such as taking shorter showers and avoiding washing cars.

Hopkinsville Water and Environment Authority issued a press release Tuesday also encouraging citizens to conserve water. HWEA hasn’t issued any water restrictions yet, but advised customers to refrain from using sprinklers unless necessary and to water their lawns at night or early in the morning to reduce evaporation.

Christian County received .13 inches of precipitation Monday, according to Kentucky Mesonet. For June, the county received only .54 inches.

Christian County Weather Coordinator Dave Powell said there is a chance of significant rainfall early next week. Monday’s storm, he said, only lasted a short period and covered only a small portion of the area. He thinks the storm system that’s predicted to move through the area will cover a larger portion.

Temperatures in Christian County are expected to stay in the upper 90s through early next week. Powell expects the high temperatures to last another 10 days to two weeks. After that, he said, they could start to come down.

“A lot can happen between now and then,” Powell said. “When you’ve got a drought like this, it’s hard to break it. It takes a pretty strong system to get in and break a drought.”

REACH DENNIS O’NEIL at 270-887-3237

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