Governor’s Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 18, 2002)- imminent for the Central Maryland region but have been postponed as rain continues to be forecast.Governor Parris N. Glendening today announced that all of Maryland remains in either drought warning, drought watch or imminent drought emergency status and urged Marylanders to continue voluntary measures to conserve water. Level One mandatory restrictions remain

"The old axiom says that if you want rain, wash your car. Well, a new updated version of the saying should be, if you need rain, plan to declare a drought emergency," said Governor Glendening. "In all seriousness though, these last few days of much needed rain are literally just drops in the bucket. It took six long months of dry weather to get us to this point and the rain we received in recent days is not nearly enough to recharge our groundwater, to bring streams and rivers back to normal or to raise reservoir levels."

Central Maryland remains in an impending emergency condition. The region consists of Cecil, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Frederick counties, as well as both Baltimore City and Baltimore County, portions of northwestern Montgomery County that are not served by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), and portions of northern Anne Arundel County.

"We still anticipate declaring drought emergency for Central Maryland unless the rain continues for much longer than predicted, and it will not be the only region to fall into emergency status if we do not take immediate steps to conserve water," said the Governor. "We are calling on all businesses and citizens across the State to take voluntary steps to achieve a ten percent reduction in total water usage. We must all work together as Marylanders to overcome this challenge now and in the future."

Because Level One mandatory restrictions primarily curtail outdoor water-use, voluntary measures are currently sufficient. Examples of Level One restrictions include prohibitions against watering of lawns, automated watering of gardens, washing paved areas and non-commercial washing or cleaning of mobile equipment including automobiles, trucks, trailers and boats. There are a number of exemptions to the restrictions, such as allowances for watering newly seeded lawns. An updated list of the restrictions and exemptions will be available when an emergency is declared.

The Governor also indicated any drought emergency declaration will include two important provisions. The first of these will allow any local jurisdiction that uses water sources not at emergency levels to opt out of enforcing the mandatory restrictions. The second provision allows local jurisdictions to impose more stringent restrictions if necessary. Eleven localities across Central Maryland, including Emmitsburg, Thurmont and Westminster, are already under more extensive mandatory restrictions for residents, and those restrictions remain in effect.

Governor Glendening urged every Maryland resident and business to take voluntary steps to reduce water usage by 10 percent. During the drought of 1999, water usage dropped an incredible 15 to 20 percent across the State when mandatory conservation measures were taken.

"When we faced the drought of 1999, we all learned the important lesson that ever drop of water counts," said Governor Glendening. "The key to getting through this long-term is for every Maryland home and business to show the same commitment to conservation that we saw three years ago. With all Marylanders working together, we can see a reduction of at least 10 percent."

The Governor suggested several easy steps Marylanders can take to reduce water usage, including:

  • Repair leaky faucets, toilets or pipes.
  • Landscape using drought-tolerant plants.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks, decks and other hard surfaces.

For a complete list of water-saving tips and for more information on drought-related issues, Marylanders can call the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), toll-free, at 1-877-4-DROUGHT (1-877-437-6844) or log onto their website at