Press Release

LA PLATA, MD (August 26, 2005) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and Environment Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick announced today the first step of a long-term project to inform and guide the management of ground water resources in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Over the next two years the Maryland Department of the Environment will allocate $200,000 to 300,000 to initiate the project, which was recommended by Governor Ehrlich's Advisory Committee on the Protection and Management of Water Resources.

“Water is a basic service, necessary to all life and our livelihood. We are committed to fulfilling our obligation to ensure Marylanders have an abundant drinking water supply,” said Governor Ehrlich. “The Coastal Plain initiative announced today is an ambitious and important project that Maryland needs to properly evaluate and manage the sustainability of the State’s precious groundwater resources.”

In a joint effort, MDE, the U.S. Geological Survey and Maryland Geological Survey initiated the hydrological study of the Coastal Plain aquifer system, which will provide critical data on groundwater issues. This project will culminate with developing a computer model with GIS capabilities. The model will assist state and local governments in making decisions on water capacity and its allocation to accommodate growth in Maryland.

“The Coastal Plain water supply study will provide the core data to ensure the State and the communities of Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore can make sound decisions regarding development with accurate water supply information,” said Secretary Philbrick. “Adequate water is critical to the economic growth and development of our communities.”

The Coastal Plain Aquifer System includes all counties on the Eastern Shore, from Worcester County to parts of Cecil County south of Route 40, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s counties in Southern Maryland.

With the population of Maryland projected to increase by 1.1 million people by 2030, there will be a significant increase in our demand for water - up to 233 million gallons per day. The new project is part of the State’s proactive plan to ensure water resource availability throughout the State on a continuing basis.