Leitchfield Utilities uses one-call to ask customers to conserve

By Brittany Wise bwise@civitasmedia.com

February 14, 2014

Leitchfield Water District made use of the emergency one-call system for the first time on Wednesday, Feb. 12 when water reserve levels reached a volume that officials were not entirely comfortable with.

According to Utilities Superintendant Kevin Pharis, the call was made in order to avoid reaching the point of a potential water shortage.

Pharis explained that the measures taken were standard, and at no point were the levels low enough to create an emergency situation; however, the call was put out in order to avoid reaching such a point.

Area residents who received the call were asked to stop running water as a precaution against freezing pipes, because temperatures were warm enough to alleviate such concerns. They were also asked to take a look around their properties and notify the water district if there were any leaks that needed repairs.

Similarly, Pharis said, businesses which use water for non-essential purposes - such as laundromats and car washes - were asked to conserve the resource on a voluntary basis. Factories like Bel Cheese were asked to volunteer their efforts by not using water for processing.

Pharis explained that the conservation efforts were instated to ensure that if an unusual situation such as a major leak or extensive fire were to occur, there would be enough available water to continue service in households across the service area as well.

“A lot of people didn’t understand or jumped to conclusions,” Pharis said, though he felt that overall, the use of the one-call system (which sends out a recorded message to every number listed in the service area) went well.

“It always makes you feel good when you implement something and you see that it works.” he said.

The system will continue to be used any time a similar situation occurs, but customers are not likely to get the call again any time soon. Pharis said that the last time the district found themselves in such a situation was during the 2009 ice storm, though at the time one-call was not an option and communications were down.

When asked if customers should continue conservation efforts, Pharis said, “Water is a commodity. As we make it, we expend energy that we can’t ever get back. We want everyone to always conserve water. It helps resources for our future.”