'We're in a water crisis'; Drought causing city to scramble for water as levels drop

Published: Oct. 16, 2019 at 2:57 PM EDT
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The Benham community of Harlan County is in a water crisis as the drought takes a firm grip on its water system.

Normally the water that runs down the mountain where the intake pumps are supplies 250 gallons a minute, but now it is at 50 gallons a minute and dropping.

"This has been going on forever since it started drying out, three weeks or so," said Benham Mayor Howard White.

The town asked Harlan County Schools to dismiss Cumberland Elementary at 12:00 p.m. Wednesday so the city could conserve water.

"We've got water that's coming in but we don't got enough," said White.

City officials are frantically working with state officials on getting permission to pump from the river.

"Yes, our water plant man is on the phone getting permission to pump from the river right now," said White.

This is not the first time the city has experienced a water shortage.

"We'll have water, we just have to overcome it. We've overcome it before and we can overcome it again," said White.

White asks everyone to conserve as much water as they can until the city gets its levels back up to normal.