The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet has issued a water shortage watch for 61 counties in Kentucky.

A water shortage watch is issued when drought conditions have the potential to threaten the normal availability of drinking water supply sources.

State Climatologist Stuart Foster says precipitation deficits for the past four months place Kentucky's four climatic divisions in the driest periods on record since 1895. Drought conditions across Kentucky range from moderate to severe.

The National Drought Mitigation Center indicates that severe agricultural and hydrologic drought conditions have developed south of a line stretching from Calloway County in the west to Jessamine County in central Kentucky and continuing southeast to Letcher County.

Record-low daily flows are being measured in areas of the Green, Barren, Salt, Upper Cumberland and Kentucky River basins. A reversal of current climatic conditions is needed to mitigate the low flows and replenish declining water supplies in rivers and reservoirs.

Foster says the six- to 10-day outlook indicates little promise of significant rainfall.