Outdoor water use is banned by company supplying Bel Air

September 08, 1995|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

A week after asking residents to voluntarily restrict water use, the company that supplies water to Bel Air is forbidding the outdoor use of water beginning tomorrow because of the continued dry weather.

That means no watering of lawns, no filling of swimming pools, no washing of cars. Nothing.

"They cannot use outdoor water, period," said Daniel Dorlack, manager of Maryland American Water Co. in Bel Air. The ban does not affect residents who receive water from Harford County.

Mr. Dorlack said he would announce the water ban today, with official notices to be mailed to all customers this afternoon. That would allow enforcement of the water ban to begin tomorrow, he said.

While there is no monetary fine that can be imposed if someone violates the ban, Mr. Dorlack said, "We will come and shut their water off." But, he quickly added, "We don't foresee that. We don't want to do that. We're really asking for cooperation."

Maryland American has been supplying water to Bel Air residents for more than 100 years. It gets its supply from Winters Run, a stream that swings south of town and east to the Chesapeake Bay.

Two monitoring devices along Winters Run have recorded daily flows for years. "The optimum daily flow is 12 million gallons, and we're down to about 5 million gallons a day," Mr. Dorlack said.

The lowest daily flow of water through Winters Run was 4.3 million gallons in one day, he said.

Even with the low flow, the company has more than enough water to supply its 4,500 customers, about 13,200 people. Daily demand averages 1.3 million gallons per day. In recent weeks, it has been about 1.6 million gallons, said Mr. Dorlack.

The problem is that fish and other wildlife along Winters Run are imperiled by low water flows.

Department of Natural Resources officials have been closely watching the situation, said Mr. Dorlack. He said that if the company didn't impose the water ban, the DNR might force it to.

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