County water customers still on restriction

March 09, 2003

Bound by a water contract between Harford County and Baltimore, customers on the county's water system remain under water-use restrictions despite Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s recent lifting of the drought emergency order for Central Maryland.

Residents who receive a water bill from any other water system in Harford should contact their supplier about water restrictions in their area. Those on private water systems and wells are no longer affected by the restrictions.

Below-normal water levels in the Baltimore reservoir system are responsible for keeping the restrictions in place here and in sections of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties served by the city. As of Jan. 27, the city's reservoir system was about 67 percent full. The reservoirs are normally about 81 percent full at this time of year.

Although the recent record snowstorm will go a long way to help raise reservoir levels, the restrictions will remain in place until the reservoir levels climb to at least the 80 percent range, according to Robert Cooper, Harford County's drought coordinator.

Stream flows and ground water levels at many locations in the central region set record lows during a drought, which has been called among the worst in the past century.

Key restrictions include:

No watering of lawns.

No washing paved surfaces such as streets, roads, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking areas, tennis courts and patios.

No using sprinklers and other automatic watering devices for irrigation, watering of gardens, landscaped areas, trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants. Hand-held containers and hoses with automatic shutoff may be used.

No noncommercial washing or cleaning of automobiles, trucks, trailers and boats.

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