Governor’s Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 1, 1999) - Declaring that the tremendous conservation efforts of Marylanders and last week's unusual amounts of rainfall had ended the State's immediate water supply crisis, Governor Parris N. Glendening today lifted the mandatory drought restrictions that he put in place four weeks ago. Acting on the recommendations of his Drought Emergency Coordinating Committee, the Governor determined that the State's water supplies were at minimum sustainable levels, allowing mandatory restrictions to be lifted. However, the Governor reemphasized that the State remained in a drought emergency, and urged Marylanders to continue to voluntarily conserve water.

"Due to the heroic efforts of Marylanders who have worked together over the past four weeks to save water, and thanks to last week's unusual amount of rainfall, we no longer face an immediate water supply crisis," said Governor Glendening. "Last week, the people of Maryland surpassed our greatest expectations and saved an incredible 100 million gallons of water a day. These sacrifices, along with the rainfall, have raised our water supplies enough so that the mandatory restrictions are no longer necessary."

The Governor's actions repeal the mandatory water and open burning restrictions on a statewide basis, effective immediately, with two exceptions. First, in order to guarantee that water supplies remain adequate in the Baltimore area, the Baltimore Regional Water System must continue pulling water from the Susquehanna River while the reservoirs rebuild. Second, open air fires remain banned in the four Western Maryland counties (Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington).

The Governor lifted the restrictions today after receiving recommendations from his Drought Emergency Coordinating Committee. The Committee met earlier today to study the latest conservation and water supply figures and consider whether the State's water levels had risen enough to warrant lifting the mandatory restrictions. Last week's drought figures showed that the rainfall cut the overall deficit by 2 inches and raised stream flows and water supplies throughout the State. In addition, Marylanders responded to the restrictions by cutting their water usage by 16%.

The Drought Committee and the Governor concluded that the State's major water systems have now reached capacities that will sustain a 120-day supply of water, even through the dry autumn months. However, the Governor also stated that some smaller water systems, such as Westminster, that do not have 120 days of sustainable capacity may need to impose their own local restrictions on water usage.

"Although we are no longer in an immediate crisis, Maryland remains in a drought emergency," the Governor said. "I ask Marylanders to continue their extraordinary efforts by voluntarily conserving water, and making water conservation a daily part of their lives."

The Drought Committee will continue to monitor Maryland's water systems throughout the year to make sure that their capacities remain at a safe and manageable level.