Water consumption is spiking with the early drought as people roll out hoses and rev up sprinklers to save parched landscaping.
Over the weekend, the Louisville Water Co. pumped about 185 million gallons a day — well above the usual daily average for this time of year of 125 million gallons.
The Frankfort Plant Board averaged 12.5 million gallons a day from Thursday through Sunday, well above its usual 9 to 9.5 million gallons, in part because Georgetown is buying water from Frankfort.
And in Lexington, demand for water reached, well, we don't know.
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Kentucky American Water stopped providing production figures several years ago citing concerns that such disclosures could affect the price of its parent company's stock and run afoul of securities law.
That's one of the many oddities and disadvantages when a public utility and precious natural resource are controlled by an investor-owned corporation rather than by the public.
Kentucky American has assured customers that it's "well positioned to meet" their water supply needs thanks to the addition in 2010 of a 20-million gallon a day, $164-million treatment plant on the Kentucky River in Owen County and a 31-mile pipeline to Lexington.
Without giving away any trade secrets — or actual numbers — a company spokeswoman said that without the new treatment plant it's likely Kentucky American would have already asked for watering restrictions.
Kentucky American is so confident of its water supply that it's asking the Kentucky Public Service Commission for permission to build a 16-mile pipeline from its Owen County plant to replace the aging treatment plant in Owenton. Kentucky American bought the Owenton waterworks in 2005.
While refurbishing the Owenton plant would be cheaper by almost $3 million, connecting to the modern plant will save an estimated $600,000 a year in operations and maintenance costs, making it the better deal, says Kentucky American.
Before weekend storms replenished creeks and rivers, the state issued a water shortage watch in 27 counties, including Fayette.
The watch is intended to put people on alert to pay attention to water news in case restrictions are imposed.
People who depend on wells should be paying particular attention to water levels.
While Lexington might have the luxury of unlimited watering, consumers do have an incentive to conserve: Cost.
Kentucky American's almost 500,000 customers pay more for water than most Bluegrass residents. A running toilet or leaky faucet can cost hundreds, even thousands, of gallons a day.
Find water conservation tips at: http://fpb.cc/Portals/0/PDF%20Files/Water%20Conservation%20Tips.pdf.