Drought Watch in Effect for Western, Central, Eastern Md.

Southern Maryland, areas served by Baltimore City and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission public water remain in normal status

BALTIMORE (May 8, 2012) – The Maryland Department of the Environment announced that a drought “watch” is in effect for the Western and Central regions of Maryland. The previously announced drought watch for the Eastern region of Maryland also remains in effect.

The newly announced drought watch is for Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties, along with the portions of Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore counties that are not served by the Baltimore City or Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission public water systems. The Eastern region includes Kent County and all counties farther south on the Eastern Shore.

Average precipitation across the state was about 64 percent of normal for the first four months of the year. Stream flow and groundwater levels are below normal through much of the state.

Reservoirs are at or near capacity. Baltimore City and areas of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties that are served by the Baltimore City or Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission public water systems remain in normal status. The Southern region also remains in normal status.

During a drought watch, MDE increases oversight of water supply conditions and encourages citizens to become more aware of their water use and to conserve water. Local water systems can require water-use restrictions at any time due to local conditions, but MDE is not at this time aware of any local jurisdictions implementing voluntary or mandatory restrictions.

MDE monitors precipitation, stream flow, groundwater levels and reservoir storage to determine the drought status for each of six regions of the state. If two or more of the four indicators for a region reach "watch," "warning," or "emergency" levels, then the region is placed in the corresponding status.

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