The town of Middletown and the Maryland Department of the Environment signed an agreement yesterday that will allow the water-strapped town to restart a stalled elementary school construction project. But nothing else can be built until Middletown finds more water.
State officials said the Frederick County town had ignored warnings for years that its growth was outstripping its water supply and in June, Environment Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick issued a building moratorium.
Yesterday's agreement means both sides acknowledge there is a water problem - and Middletown will have to conserve more and find more water if the town intends to complete planned homes and subdivisions.
State officials hailed this as a positive step in a long-raging battle.
"The town agreed that any growth would occur only after they had established an adequate water supply that can support the growth," said MDE spokesman Jeffrey R. Welsh. "I don't think it's going to happen overnight."