Longer drought and serious water problems expected for '08

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- State officials are worried about more serious water problems in 2008 if the drought persists.

They say hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans should expect emergency water shortages more serious than spotty inconveniences like low wells and dry ground springs unless 2008 turns wet.

There are about 60 communities on a drought watch list, with the southern Cumberland Plateau, Cookeville, Crossville and northern East Tennessee among the driest areas.

Most of the state's major population centers are on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers or draw from deep wells in West Tennessee and won't be affected.

But an extension of the drought will create serious problems for communities that draw from smaller water sources.

Normandy Lake in south-central Tennessee will supply water only until about July unless the weather changes.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)