150,000 Told To Curb Water Use

July 17, 2009|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,frank.roylance@baltsun.com

Dry weather, soaring demand for water and water main repairs have combined to force city water managers to ask 150,000 residents in Northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County to shut off their sprinklers and curb their water consumption for up to a week.

If they don't, officials said, "mandatory restrictions may be required."

There is plenty of water in the region's three reservoirs. Abundant spring rains topped them off before the dry weather began in mid-June.

But repair work at four places along a 54-inch water main have made it more difficult to pump water from filtration plants to the holding tanks that serve customers in the northwest section.

City public works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher said the problem, again, is the failure of pre-stressed concrete water pipes manufactured 40 years ago by a company that later went bankrupt.

In recent years, water main breaks and relining work have caused service interruptions or supply restrictions in Halethorpe, Kenilworth, Pikesville and other locations.

The area affected by the latest repair work is bounded on the south by Druid Lake in the city, on the east by the Jones Falls Expressway, on the west by Liberty Heights Avenue and Liberty Road, and on the north by Ivy Mill Road.

Efforts to keep the area supplied with water while the faulty main is shut down for relining have been complicated by heavy demand for water.

There has been no measurable rain at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport since July 1 and less than half an inch since the heavy spring rains ended in June.

"It will take another week for the work to be completed," Kocher said.

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