2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 276-10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


SUMMERS, Robert M., Environmental Discipline, KCI Technologies, Inc., 936 Ridgebrook Road, Sparks, MD 21152, robert.summers@kci.com

From 1999 to 2002, the State of Maryland, experienced its worst drought since the 1960's. In some parts of the State, monitoring wells and stream gages dropped to the lowest levels ever observed. Fortunately, due to adequate long-range planning for drought, the major metropolitan regions of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. had an adequate water supply to get through the drought, even though water use restrictions were needed. In the next drought, we may not be so lucky.

Recognizing the significance of the drought, in the Fall of 2002, the Governor issued an Executive Order creating an Advisory Committee "to advise the State in implementing programs and policies relating to the management, development, conservation and protection of the State's water resources." M. Gordon Wolman, of the Johns Hopkins University, was appointed Chairman of the Committee, which he continued to lead through the tenure of three different Governors. Three detailed reports were issued by the Committee (2004, 2006 and 2008) containing significant recommendations for improvements needed to the State's water supply planning, monitoring and management.

Although some of the Committee's recommendations had begun to be implemented, in its 2008 report the committee was forced to conclude: "Maryland’s investment in water resources management ... has been inadequate ... the available data have not been completely analyzed or integrated to ensure that current and proposed future water uses do not exceed the available supplies ... studies have shown that in some areas of concentrated water demand, the current pattern of water use may already exceed the sustainable yield. The situation will only get worse as the demand on Maryland’s water resources increases due to growth in population, agricultural irrigation and power production."

Since the Committee concluded its work in 2008, State funding for monitoring and water supply analysis has been further reduced. This presenation will review the current status of Maryland's response to the recommendations of the Committee and the prospects for Maryland's future water supply in the face of the dual threats of continued growth and development and climate change, resulting in dryer summer conditions that are already driving growing demand for water for agricultural irrigation and residential use.