Beshear issues emergency declaration for west KY. city facing water crisis

Published 6:30 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

Gov. Andy Beshear declared an emergency for a community in Crittenden County hours after receiving a plea from local leaders due to a water shortage over the weekend.

Marion – a community of close to 3,000 residents – is located in far northwestern Kentucky. Lake George, the primary reservoir for city’s residents and businesses needed to be drained because of a levee failure. That, coupled with limited rainfall and unseasonably warm weather, caused the water shortage to become critical.

“The number one priority of government is to keep our people safe,” Beshear said on Saturday.. “Today’s action of declaring a state of emergency for the city of Marion is intended to put into motion all the things we, the state, can do to help alleviate the situation and provide support. My administration is committed to helping the city and all of our Kentucky families who live there.”

Hearing of the pending water shortage, the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management (KYEM) contacted local officials to help them with the process of requesting state assistance and an emergency declaration. State officials are expected to travel to Marion to discuss remedies with the city and to begin implementing a plan that will provide short- and long-term guidance to the city to ensure that families have access to water.

Additional cabinets and state agencies can also act with the state of emergency in place. The Energy and Environment Cabinet has been tasked with assisting the city of Marion and Crittenden County to stop all nonessential uses of water; and the Finance and Administration Cabinet has been directed to help with resource management and with procurement or contracts necessary to deal with the water shortage.

In addition, under the executive order, Kentucky’s Adjutant General is authorized to issue active-duty orders for the mobilization of such National Guard personnel and equipment as he may determine to protect life and safety, to continue essential public services and to prevent undue loss and suffering.