Despite a six-minute rainstorm over Toyota's Kentucky auto plant Thursday, Aug. 19, a drought continues to threaten the automaker.
Engineers at the Georgetown, Ky., complex spent last week looking for ways to reduce its water use up to 25 percent.
As central Kentucky's rivers and streams shrink to a trickle, Toyota's local water utility notified industrial users that it plans to call for an emergency reduction of 10 to 20 percent.
'This area is in pretty dire straits,' said Tom Harris, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc. 'We're trying to go ahead and do what we can now.'
Toyota believes it can meet the expected 10 to 20 percent cutback edict, Harris said. But if the drought persists, the next level of the emergency would call for a 50 percent reduction - a level Toyota could not meet, he said.
Georgetown consumes 2.2 million gallons of water daily, most of it used in vehicle paint and in circulating systems that cool the factory. High temperatures have caused power companies to ask some Southern auto plants to reduce power usage this month.
Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A. in Smyrna, Tenn., spent a week under an emergency standby advisory from its local power supplier. Under the advisory, Nissan could have been ordered to cease production within one hour. Power officials asked Toyota to cut its power by 10 percent, a request that left many office personnel working in the dark.