If Harford County supplies your water, don't plan to use your automatic lawn sprinkler for a while. The county has banned the use of the sprinklers for the summer, and violators could face a $50 fine.
The sprinkler ban, which applies to business and residential customers,was issued last week by the Department of Public Works in an effort to avoid water pressure problems during peak water-use hours.
The sprinkler ban does not apply to water customers of Maryland-American Water Co., which supplies residents of Bel Air. Aberdeen and Havre de Grace water users also are not subject to the county ban.
Automatic lawn sprinklers were used to water the grass at the Bel Air County Courthouse the morning the ban was issued.
But George Harrison, a spokesman for County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, said county workers will stop using sprinklers because of "public perception."
Instead, they will use hoses and spray nozzles to "hand-water" the grass for short periods, a practice that will be permitted throughout the county despite the sprinkler ban, he said.
Jerald Wheeler, deputy director of county public works for the water and sewer division, said the ban on sprinklers is not related to water supply.
Thecounty has enough water, but its water system can pump only 4,000 gallons a minute, Wheeler said.
Sprinklers use about 3 gallons of water a minute. One thousand sprinklers running simultaneously use 3,000 gallons of water a minute, or most of the water the county's water distribution system can pump, Wheeler said. That has caused a drop inwater pressure in some areas of the county during peak water-use hours, he said.
Part of the water pressure and distribution problem should be relieved when the expanded Havre de Grace water treatment plant is put into operation within the next two weeks, Wheeler said. The plant will supply an additional 1 million gallons of water a day for the county.
The county also will spend the next year building new transmission lines and water storage tanks to improve water flow, Wheeler said.