HAMPSTEAD — Even as Carroll's towns grapple with how to provide water for the rest of the summer, the county last night began looking at what the water supply will be 10 years from now.
The Carroll County Water and Sewerage Master Plan isn't one of the county's most exciting documents, but it is a state-mandated one.
And, before development of any kind can occur in Carroll, the plan has to be changed to accommodate it.
As they have every two years since the plan's adoption in the late 1960s, planning officials last night formally invited the county's development community to request changes in the plan.
"This water and sewer master plan sets up where development can occur," said Bobbi Moser, a planner with the county. "If you want to develop any kind of project, it has to be in theplan."
Projects can fall under one of three categories. The "no-plan service area" is for property that will not be served by public water or sewer, and, therefore, will not support development.
The "7- to 10-year area" includes parcels set to have water and sewer between 1998 and 2001. And the "0- to 6-year area," the area where development can occur now, is slated to be served by public water and sewerby 1997.
What county planners told the seven residents who attended last night's 20-minute meeting at North Carroll High School is that anyone thinking of developing a property between 1993 and 1995 had better request getting their property in the 0- to 6-year area.
"You don't want to go through the process only to find out at the last minute that you are not in the plan," Moser said. "You need to know that upfront, because the state will not let you develop if you are not on the plan."
The Water and Sewerage Master Plan is one of several large documents the county uses to guide growth and development.
According to the plan, Carroll's public water supply is 8.9 milliongallons a day, while demand on that supply is 4.7 million gallons a day.
By 1997, the plan says that Carroll's demand on public water will total 10 million gallons a day, while that supply is expected toreach 13.5 million gallons a day.
Further in the future, the plancalls for the development of several reservoirs, such as Piney Run, Gillis Falls and Union Bridge.
However, delays of several years inobtaining federal and state permits for those reservoirs means, for the time being, a reliance on ground water for the county's water supply.
"We must rely on ground water for some time to come," Moser said. "We're still anticipating those reservoirs, but building them and getting them on line may take decades."
Most of the water in Carroll County comes from wells that pump ground water. Those sources have taken a beating over the last eight months, as the summer and winter drought have left water tables as much as 10 inches lower than they were at this time last year.
Developers have until Aug. 23 to submit requests to the Planning Department for changes in the plan. As of last night, no such requests had been submitted.
Planning officials will conduct another informational meeting on the plan tonight at 7 at South Carroll High School in Eldersburg.
In addition to theonce-every-two-years update to the plan, amendments agreed to over the last year will be discussed at a public hearing at 9 a.m. tomorrowat the County Office Building.