Annapolis (May 31, 2006)
Recent cool, wet weather may have lulled northern Anne Arundel County residents and businesses into a sense that the water restrictions, announced last month, may not have been necessary. However, as anticipated, the current dry, hot weather conditions are putting a tremendous strain on the public water supply at this time.
The Anne Arundel County, Department of Public Works (DPW) announced on April 18, 2006 that public water use restrictions would go into effect on May 3, 2006. The restrictions, now in place, impact residents and businesses in the northwest and northeast sections of Anne Arundel County. Public water customers in the following zip codes will be subject to mandatory water use restrictions: 20724, 20701, 20794, 21076, 21090, 21077, 21225, 21240, 21061, and 21144. Public water customers in the following zip codes will be subject to voluntary water use restrictions: 21226, 21060 and 21122.
“The reason for the early announcement was to prepare our customers for the type of demand that occurs during the summer months, especially during the type of weather conditions we are experiencing now,” said County Executive Janet S. Owens today. “While it is unfortunate that these restrictions are necessary, it is critical that our public water customers heed them so that adequate water is on-hand for basic needs and fire protection.”
While most of the public drinking water in Anne Arundel County is supplied from wells within the county, DPW does depend on water from Baltimore City to supplement the demand. Although DPW continues to build alternate water transmission lines to reduce this dependency, approximately 10 million gallons of water a day is fed to Anne Arundel County through a 72” line under the Key Bridge and a 54” line near Nursery Road.
In January, DPW was notified by Baltimore County that the 54" water main that supplies water to the northwest section of Anne Arundel County was being taken out of service for a maintenance inspection. At that time, DPW announced that the line was expected to be returned to service by April 1st.
As a result of this inspection, Baltimore County officials have determined that significant deterioration exists in their line and, in order to avoid a catastrophic failure, the line will remain out of service for perhaps the next year so that permanent replacement pipe can be installed.
Up until this point, DPW has been able to make available adequate water supplies from other County water sources with perhaps only some minor changes in water pressure in the northwest section of the County. However, now that the summer season is here and outdoor demand for water reaches its peak, restrictions must be followed. The purpose of the restrictions is to maintain adequate water supplies for basic customer needs and public safety including fire protection.
While the restrictions are expected to remain in effect through October 1, 2006, DPW officials are working aggressively to install temporary lines and pumping stations to supplement the water supply to west county. These efforts may result in the easing of restrictions later in the summer.
The restrictions, both mandatory and voluntary, will be in effect Monday through Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until midnight and Friday, beginning at 5:00 p.m. through midnight Sunday and all day on holidays.
Businesses within the restricted area are asked to implement a 10% water reduction plan. Residents within the restricted area may water plants and gardens with hand-held cans or hoses with automatic shut-off nozzle and may wash cars at a commercial facilities but may not do the following during the restricted times:
- Water lawns or plants with a free-running hose or sprinkler.
- Wash cars, trucks, trailers, boats or other equipment.
- Wash paved or outdoor surfaces and structures such as sidewalks, driveways, decks, patios and parking areas.
- Fill or top off a private swimming pool, ornamental fountain, artificial waterfall or reflecting pool.
The mandatory water use restrictions will be enforced by local law enforcement officials. Penalties may include fines and violators are subject to the disconnection of their public water supply. Violations should be referred to the Anne Arundel County Police at (410) 222-8610. The public should not call 911 for a water use restriction violation.
For more information on the restrictions, the public may call (410) 222-4420 or visit the website at www.aacounty.org. The public is also encouraged to view Update Anne Arundel County for further information from County Executive Janet S. Owens and the Department of Public Works on Public Access and Government Channel 98.