Governor’s Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 20, 2003) - Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today lifted the drought emergency in the central region of Maryland. Due to below normal levels in the Baltimore City reservoir system, Level One water use restrictions remain in place for Baltimore City and areas served by Baltimore City water system.

Water use restrictions will no longer in place for Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Montgomery Counties, except in the areas served by the City of Baltimore’s water supply system. Water use restrictions have been in place since April 5 in the Central Region and since August 27 in Baltimore City. The restrictions prohibited citizens using water for a variety of activities including washing their cars at home and watering their lawns.

“I encourage citizens throughout Maryland to continue taking steps to conserve water in their everyday activities by repairing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures and appliances, and adopting smart water use habits,” stated Governor Ehrlich.

Water levels in Baltimore City’s reservoir system remain below normal levels. As of February 13, the city’s reservoir system was about 67% full. The reservoirs are normally about 81% full at this time of year. Level One restrictions include:

  • Watering of lawns is prohibited.
  • Washing paved surfaces such as streets, roads, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking areas, tennis courts, and patios is prohibited.
  • Use of sprinklers and other automatic watering devices is prohibited for purposes of irrigation, watering of gardens, landscaped areas, trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants. Handheld containers and hoses with automatic shut off may be used.
  • Use of water for non-commercial washing or cleaning of mobile equipment including automobiles, trucks, trailers and boats is prohibited.


Precipitation since October 2002 is about 143% of normal for the central region. Above-normal precipitation over the past several months has helped to restore streamflow and ground water levels across the State.

This year’s drought was among the worst in the past century, rivaling serious water shortages experienced in the 1960s. Stream flows and ground water levels at many locations in the central region set all-time record lows.

MDE will continue to monitor hydrologic conditions on a monthly basis and information regarding drought status as well as a full list of Level One restrictions are available on the MDE website at For additional information regarding Baltimore City’s water supply and water use restrictions, citizens may call 410-396-9695.