Baltimore, MD (October 4, 2007) –The Maryland Department of Environment today determined that the Central and Eastern regions of Maryland are in a drought watch following a review of September drought indicators. Conditions in the Western and Southern regions remain within normal ranges. Reservoirs serving the Baltimore City and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission service areas continue to have adequate reserves.
A drought watch is the first stage in the State’s Drought Management Plan. During a drought watch, MDE increases oversight of water supply conditions and encourages citizens to become more aware of their water use, and to conserve whenever possible.
Rainfall has been below normal since May 2007, resulting in very dry soil conditions. Analysis of precipitation totals over the longer term indicates that rainfall is still within a normal range, primarily due to abundant rainfall from October 2006 through April 2007. Stream flow levels for the Central and Eastern regions are below normal, and ground water levels for the Central, Western and Eastern regions are below normal. The Central and Eastern Regions continue to show stresses in both stream flow and ground water levels, which results in the drought watch designation for these areas. The drought watch covers Baltimore, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties, except for areas supplied by the Baltimore City or WSSC water systems.
A number of communities in Maryland have restricted water use in their service areas due to conditions specific to their water supplies. For more information about local restrictions, visit MDE’s website at mde.maryland.gov.
Rainfall during the fall and winter months is critical to ensuring that sufficient water is stored in reservoirs and ground water aquifers. Water supply conditions will be closely monitored over this period and regular updates to the drought status will be made.
MDE reminds Maryland citizens that conserving water is important at any time, but it becomes especially important during extended periods of reduced rainfall.