Drinking water in short supply in flooded areas of Kentucky

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National Guardsmen distributed bottled water in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky as forecasters predicted more rain in the region.

Since the historic Appalachian flooding, water provision has emerged as a concern for victims after floodwaters severely damaged drinking water systems. As donations poured into the region, drinking water was one of the priorities along with cleaning supplies.

“We’re getting water in as fast as we can,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.

As of Wednesday morning, National Guard soldiers had distributed more than 2,400 crates of water, the governor said. The intense heat and humidity added to the other ailments as people continued to remove mountains of debris left behind by the floodwaters a week ago.

The running water system has been restored for many people in the region, the governor said. But work continues to repair damaged systems. Others were simply “washed out,” Beshear said. In some areas, repairs could take weeks or even months.

“It will take a significant amount of time and a significant amount of dollars to restore what was destroyed,” he said.

Crews from across the state are assisting with the repairs, Beshear said.

It will take a special session of the legislature to craft a rescue package, Beshear said. The governor has the power to summon it.

Beshear said a rescue package should include help to repair piped water services to avoid users being forced to pay for them through higher rates.

“Otherwise, the costs will go to the users,” he said. “So the people who lost everything and are rebuilding would see their water rates go through the roof.”

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