Energy and Environment Cabinet
Magoffin County Facing Water Supply Shortage

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 10, 2008  
Contact Information:  Allison Fleck, Division of Water, 502-564-3410
Guy Delius, Dept. of Public Health, 502-564-7398
Andrew Melnykovych, PSC, 502-564-3940
Gary Rogers, KEM, 502-607-1611

Magoffin County residents are facing a water supply emergency as their water supply continues to diminish. Imminent loss of the primary water source, the Licking River at Salyersville, will substantially decrease the ability of Salyersville Municipal Water to supply its customers. State agencies are working with local officials to establish alternate water supply sources.

“It is of prime importance that measures are taken to ensure a safe water supply to the residents of the city and county,” said Guy Delius, director of the Department for Public Health’s Division of Public Health Protection. “Until permanent relief can be provided in this area, everyone must make a concerted effort to conserve water in Magoffin County.”


The Kentucky Division of Water placed Magoffin County under a water shortage warning Sept. 26.  City and county officials have declared a state of emergency for the affected area.


“The current supply available in the Licking River is limited to the amount of water stored in the pool at Salyersville, which will not be replenished until the area receives substantial rain,” said Chris Yeary, supervisor of the Division of Water’s Water Quantity Management Section.

There is no anticipation of significant rainfall in the near future that will provide relief for the current situation, Yeary added.


 Precipitation totals in the headwaters of the Licking River associated with the recent rainfall event were limited to a half-inch and did little to alleviate the current water supply condition.  The 6- to 10-day and 8- to 14-day outlooks from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center both indicate below-normal chances of precipitation for Magoffin County.


The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) has been monitoring the Magoffin County water situation during the past several weeks, working very closely with local officials and state agencies seeking a solution to the problem. KYEM Director, General John W. Heltzel, stated, "Obviously the best solution is much needed rain. Even then there is no guarantee this problem will not re-occur in the future. As local and state officials, it is our responsibility to take whatever steps necessary to ensure that folks across the state, not just Magoffin County, have safe and adequate water available. We all need to be mindful, especially during times like these, to conserve and protect our natural resources. It is much too easy to take something as common as clean water for granted."


 The current source of most of Salyersville Municipal Water’s supply is two back-up wells. It is anticipated that the back-up wells cannot sustain current demands. The state agencies are encouraging Salyersville Municipal Water and Magoffin County Water District to interconnect with water supplies in nearby counties as an interim measure.


It is important that customers of Salyersville Municipal Water and Magoffin County Water District limit water usage to that which is necessary for basic human health and sanitary needs. Citizens are strongly encouraged to follow all recommendations from their water suppliers.  Any additional increases in demand for water will lead to limitations in the ability to supply water to the area as a whole.


“The situation developing in Magoffin County is very serious and water conservation is of utmost importance to sustain the water system until alternative sources can be used,” said Environment and Energy Cabinet Secretary Dr. Len Peters.


For more information on drought conditions, water availability and conservation

tips, visit the Division of Water’s drought Web site at