Drought Susceptibility

Maryland is a State of generous diversity. Topographies range from the relatively flat landscapes of the Eastern Shore to the mountainous regions of the western areas of the State. Geologic conditions vary as well, with the western and central areas being formed of primarily fractured rock aquifers, while southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore regions are composed of sandy aquifers. Climates also differ, with normal precipitation ranging from about 36 inches per year in Allegany County to almost 45 inches per year in Harford County.

Maryland’s water resources also vary widely. Public water systems obtain their supplies from both surface and ground water sources. In the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas, and in some western areas of the State, consumers obtain their water from public water systems that rely on surface waters, including the two largest water suppliers, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and the City of Baltimore. About two-thirds of Maryland’s citizens regularly consume water that originates from a surface water source. Public water systems in the rural areas of the State use primarily ground water as their source. In addition, many homeowners obtain their drinking water from individual wells rather than from public water supply systems.

Because of the variety of water sources, and regional differences in climate, susceptibility to drought varies across the State. This drought response plan takes into account this range of variability by using a selection of drought indicators that will allow interpretation of conditions on both a statewide and regional basis.

Population growth may affect future drought susceptibility by increasing demands on water supply by residential, commercial and industrial users. Future drought susceptibility may increase without the implementation of additional conservation measures by government, commercial, industrial, and residential users.

Maryland already has many laws, regulations, programs and policies that promote conservation of the State’s water resources.

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Please contact the Water Supply Program at WATER.SUPPLY@maryland.gov or 410-537-3702

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