(Maryland Department of…)
The Maryland Department of the Environment on Tuesday extended a drought watch to western Maryland and parts of central Maryland. A drought watch was already in effect for the Eastern Shore since April 13.
The drought watch includes all of Harford and Carroll counties and parts of Baltimore and Howard counties, as well as Frederick County and points west.
It doesn't include areas that get water service through Baltimore city.
MDE issues a drought watch when at least two indicators show developing drought conditions. The indicators include rainfall, groundwater, streamflow and reservoir levels.
In the central region, which spans from Frederick to Cecil counties across the northern part of the state, streamflow and groundwater levels have fallen to "watch" status.
In Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, stream flow levels have reached "warning" status, meaning that if any other indicators follow suit, those regions would be upgraded to drought warnings.
Under a drought watch, MDE aims to reduce water consumption by 5 percent to 10 percent, encouraging residents not to leave faucets running or to limit plant watering to the coolest time of day. Local water jurisdictions can put water use restrictions in place as they see fit, but MDE spokesman Jay Apperson said he is not aware of any.