Limits on water use set for area

1.8 million customers of Baltimore system affected, officials say

August 08, 2002|By Laura Vozzella | Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

Mandatory restrictions on water use will be announced today for the 1.8 million customers of Baltimore's water system, including users in the city, Baltimore County and parts of Howard and Anne Arundel counties, officials said yesterday.

The city is taking that "fairly unusual" step because drought conditions have depleted area reservoirs, said Kurt L. Kocher, spokesman for the Department of Public Works.

The reservoirs, which were at capacity a year ago, are on average about half-empty - Prettyboy Reservoir down to a third of its capacity, Liberty Reservoir half-empty and Loch Raven 78 percent full, Kocher said.

Public Works Director George L. Winfield plans to announce the specifics of the restrictions, including fines for violators, at an afternoon news conference at Loch Raven. His staff would not divulge details.

The city has not imposed mandatory curbs since 1999, Kocher said.

The city asked for voluntary steps in January, and that has helped: Consumption dropped by an estimated 5 million to 6 million gallons a day, he said.

Other areas of the state have faced mandatory restrictions for months. In April, Gov. Parris N. Glendening banned washing cars, watering lawns and hosing down sidewalks in much of Central Maryland. Bans were imposed earlier in parts of Carroll and Frederick counties.

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