Stanford declares state of emergency amid drought, water shortage

Published 6:24 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

The City of Stanford has declared a state of emergency due to lack of rainfall in recent months that has left raw water reservoirs low.

“The big message we want to get out is conservation,” said Mayor Dalton Miller.

Stanford declared a state of emergency concerning the water shortage on Dec. 27.

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Miller said the declaration was a way for the city to be proactive about the situation, and have access to important state and federal resources immediately if needed.

“People don’t realize we’re in a drought. Even though it just rained the other day, nobody thinks about it,” he said.

Since July 1 to Dec. 21, Miller said he estimates the area has received 13 inches of rain.

“Most of the rain came during the hottest part of the year so, what happens to it, it evaporates,” he said.

Stanford Waterworks has three water reservoirs including Rice Lake, Harris Lake and Buck Creek Lake.

“It looks like we still have a lot of water, and we do, but if the drought continues we won’t,” he said. “After speaking with the Emergency Management Agency, the water company had a meeting and they voted to pass a resolution declaring a water shortage.”

That resolution then prompted the Stanford City Council to act.

Miller didn’t want to cause panic in the community on Christmas, and there was some rainfall as projected on Christmas Day, but it did not amount to much so an emergency City Council meeting was held on Dec. 27.

“We only got half an inch at the water plant,” Miller said.

The emergency declaration does not shut anyone’s water supply off but acknowledges that the levels of water reservoirs are critically low and could create a water shortage that requires essential conservation of water resources.

The situation has not reached a crisis level yet, but the city is asking residents to conserve as much water as possible until more rain falls.

There are several ways water customers can conserve water including:

• fix any leaks promptly

• turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth

• limit showers to five minutes or less

• limit excess toilet flushes

• do fewer loads of laundry per week

• use a dishwasher

• restrict the washing of automobiles

Lincoln County Emergency Management, along with the City of Stanford and Lincoln County, is asking all residents and local businesses to help conserve water during this time.

“We are asking each home and business to reduce water usage by a minimum of 20 percent,” the EMA flyer states. “If we all do this, then together we can make a huge difference in our community.”

The flyer also states that a dripping faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day and a leaking toilet can waste 25 gallons of water a day.

According to Kentucky Mesonet climatological summaries, Lincoln County received the following amounts of precipitation in 2023: July, 3.3 inches; Aug., 3.6 inches; Sept., 1.5 inches; Oct., 1.5 inches; Nov., 1.5 inches; and Dec., 2 inches.

Last year, Lincoln County received 2.8 inches of rain in Nov. and 3.2 inches of precipitation in Dec.

Anyone with current water leaks is asked to immediately fix them, Miller said.

This advisory isn’t just for Stanford residents, he added.

“It doesn’t just affect Stanford, it affects way out in the county in different directions with the Stanford water line,” Miller said. “We are planning for the worst and praying for the best.”

Miller said as of Thursday, there was no rain predicted in the forecast for the next seven days.