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No well king and I'm Rachel Martin in rural eastern Kentucky Martin County has gotten a bad name for its polluted drinking water now local officials are trying to fix the system but that has led to a new crisis with many unable to afford the water bills from W. M. M. T. and the Ohio valley resource Sydney balls reports as I can transfer data is closest car office four lane highway where trickle of water flows from the side of a mountain just hold the plastic jug under the stream live better than what the city water that way better like most people around here Davis has avoided drinking his tap water since a massive coal slurry spell in two thousand polluted the river that the county's water comes from if they can get that alarms get water one day at a time nineteen years later local officials say the tap water is safe to drink but the water system remains in crisis there can be days long outages cloudy water well water advisories local officials are trying to fix all that but they need more money water rates went up by forty one percent last year alone that's tough for Davis who supports five people on less than fifteen thousand dollars a year Davis this is dozens of families come to the spring because like him they can't afford their water bill water right for higher but this time I hear you get bring water balloon fight for the drinking and cooking the Martin County water board is stockpiling bottled water for the most needy but it faces some major challenges as the coal industry contracts city tax revenues and some cool country communities are struggling to provide basic services the only way you can fix infrastructure without affecting rates is if somebody gives you the money to do it that's internally Kovic the spokesperson for the public service commission which regulates water systems in Kentucky civil engineers estimate Kentucky's drinking water infrastructure needs an investment of more than eight billion dollars absent some dramatic change at both the state and the federal level that grant money is just not out there in the kind of quantities needed to address all of the water infrastructure needs in Kentucky another challenge here the population is shrinking meaning a smaller group of people has to shoulder the system's fixed costs Easter is with the American society of civil engineers she says in many places around the country rural water systems are especially vulnerable communities that have a dwindling population have a even larger strain because very don't have the rate payers the pain for a system that was designed for a lot more you after we fill up with the stream I follow Jasper Davis home and he showed me the large plastic barrel where he collects rain water for flushing the toilet forgot the plane the frying it'll run out but lightly I can handle right at the bottom is just R. and math inside there is a trailer and his girlfriend so the cornet he says even if they keep their water below using the tap only for showering the household might have just twenty dollars left for additional expenses you know you got a side well it's Hey this water or we're not going to eat there may be more hard choices to calm regulators say two addresses water crisis Martin County must hire a professional and county must hire a professional outside manager that will probably mean even.

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