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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Responding to Drought

The Governor's Water Conservation Advisory Committee recommended the following actions for each drought stage.


Stage 1: Normal Conditions (Green)

  • MDE and public media implement a "Drought Index" public awareness campaign to provide citizens with regular updates about drought status (similar to Air Quality Index).
  • Media promotion of wise water use
  • Water systems develop and annually update drought plans as part of required Emergency Contingency Plans
  • Water systems develop ordinances for enforcing drought measures
  • Water systems initiate broad-based public education on water conservation
  • Water systems maintain accurate water monitoring and consumption records
  • Water systems monitor production on a daily basis and submit monthly reports to MDE
  • Water systems determine unaccounted water loss and implement leak detection and repair
  • Water systems develop and implement meter installation replacement and calibration programs
  • Homeowners repair leaks and drips
  • Homeowners install water conserving fixtures during new construction and building rehabilitation
  • Government facilities evaluate water use, identify and repair leaks, and install water conservation devices where appropriate
  • Business and industry develop water emergency plans to reduce water use by 10%
  • Business and industry develop and implement water conservation measures


Stage 2: Watch (Yellow)

5% - 10% Reduction Goal

  • MDE advises public, utilities, businesses and industry of changes to indicators, and initiates Statewide or regional "Drought Watch"
  • MDE notifies municipal and county governments, and other appropriate agencies of drought watch status.
  • Drought conditions evaluated biweekly
  • MDE media office works with local TV and radio stations to issue frequent drought updates to public
  • Verify contact information for local drought coordinators
  • MDE and water systems provide public with water conservation tips
  • MDE will increase monitoring of any problems incurred by water systems
  • MDE website updated every 2 weeks or more frequently as needed
  • Utilities or local governments may impose restrictions more stringent than the state guidelines
  • Water systems activate Water Conservation Plans
  • Water systems aggressively pursue leak detection surveys and repair programs
  • Reduce water usage for main flushing, street flushing, and park irrigation
  • Business and industries activate water emergency plans
  • Homeowners, government facilities, business and industry should reduce water use for irrigation purposes


Stage 3: Warning (Orange)

10% - 15% Reduction Goal

  • MDE notifies municipal and county governments, and other appropriate agencies of drought warning status
  • MDE and water systems advise public of changes to indicators and initiates Statewide or regional "Drought Warning"
  • Drought conditions evaluated on a weekly basis
  • Residences, businesses, and industry voluntarily comply with nonessential water use restrictions
  • MDE media office works with local TV and radio stations to issue periodic notification of drought measures, and to increase public awareness of water conservation
  • MDE continues to monitor problems incurred by water systems
  • MDE website updated weekly
  • Utilities or local governments may impose restrictions more stringent than the state guidelines
  • Water systems actively implement water conservation measures
  • Water systems individually contact industrial users to reduce water usage
  • Water systems discontinue flushing water lines, fire hydrants and distribution equipment
  • Facility managers for government buildings identify leaks and accelerate maintenance and/or repairs
  • Encourage business and industry to irrigate with treated wastewater in accordance with health guidelines


Stage 4: Emergency (Red)


15% - 20% Reduction Goal

  • Governor declares a "Drought Emergency" by executive order.
  • MDE notifies municipal and county governments, and other appropriate agencies of Drought Emergency status
  • Drought conditions evaluated at least weekly
  • Implement mandatory restrictions on nonessential water uses
  • MDE media office works with local TV and radio stations to issue daily drought updates to public
  • Establish Drought Hotline
  • Utilities or local governments may impose restrictions more stringent than the state guidelines
  • MDE website updated weekly or daily as needed
  • MDE and water systems notify consumers of severity of water shortage
  • Water systems conduct field surveillance of abuses, leaks, etc.
  • Local police and/or water systems execute enforcement of water conservation violators
  • Water systems verify availability of alternate water source or interconnection
  • Residences comply with mandatory nonessential water use restrictions
  • Business and industry comply with water conservation plans to reduce water use by at least 10%
  • Business and industry evaluate need for reduced hours of operation

   

Related Topics

What Can You Do?


For More Information 
Please contact the Water Supply Program at water.supply@maryland.gov or 410-537-3702

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