Less than a week after the state Energy and Environment Cabinet announced a water shortage watch for 27 Kentucky counties, Lexington officials made gray water, or non-potable water, available for residents or companies.
As a result of continued dry conditions, officials said, gray water will be provided from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at West Hickman and Town Branch wastewater treatment plants.
Mark York, Lexington's environmental spokesman, said the city has made gray water available several times in the past during a drought or dry weather to help conserve drinking water.
Gray water, which is reclaimed water, is not suitable for drinking and cannot be consumed by humans or animals. York said it also should not be used for bathing, watering vegetable gardens, to fill swimming pools or fountains, or to wash vehicles.
Gray water can be used for construction-related or landscaping activities including dust control; watering trees, lawns and shrubs; or for watering golf course tees and greens.
"It's a very simple process to get the water, but it's not something a typical homeowner would need to look into," York said.
To obtain the gray water, a form must be filled out with the name and address of the person or company receiving the water, and the approximate number of gallons received. York said the forms record each transfer to ensure that the water is being properly used.
The city obtained permission from the Kentucky Division of Water to distribute the gray water.
The Division of Water requires the gray water to be transferred in trucks or containers that can hold at least 500 gallons and that are labeled as "non-potable water."