MDE says groundwater levels are still below normal.
The Drought Watch continues in Frederick County, and other parts of the state. The Maryland Department of the Environment says the recent rains have helped restore stream flow to normal levels. "However, the ground water is still at watch level," says MDE spokesman Jay Apperson. "Because we’re in the midst of the growing season, the decision was made to maintain the western and central region in a watch status, along with the eastern region."
The western region includes Frederick, Washington, Allegheny and Garrett Counties. The central region under the Drought Watch is made up of Carroll, and parts of Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore Counties. The eastern region is comprised of the state’e Eastern Shore counties. MDE says areas served by the WSSC and Baltimore City remain at normal levels.
MDE uses rainfall, stream flow, groundwater levels and reservoirs, where they are located, to determine if an area should be under a Drought Watch. The Department says stream flow is back to normal across the state, except for the Choptank River in Caroline County.
The drought conditions resulted because Maryland received very little snow during the winter. Apperson says snow is the best way to help recharge the groundwater because winter precipitation takes place outside of the growing season.
If the situation doesn’t improve, Apperson says the state could issue a Drought Warning or a Drought Emergency, which could result in restrictions on water usage. Right now, there are no such restrictions in place, but he says residents should monitor their use of water, and conserve where possible. "You could repair leaks in your house. You could use plumbing appliances such as low consumption toilets that save water. Do things like turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving," says Apperson. For more water saving tips, go to the www.mde.state.md.us.
In issuing the Drought Watch, MDE says it has stepped up its monitoring of water conditions around the state in the areas covered by the Watch.