ANNAPOLIS, MD (August 4, 1999) - - Seeking to conservedwindling water supplies resulting from Maryland's worst drought since the 1930's, Governor Parris N. Glendening today placed mandatory restrictions on water usage throughout the State. After studying the recommendations of his Drought Emergency Coordinating Committee, Governor Glendening released an Executive Order which requires all Marylanders to limit their water use. The mandatory restrictions replace voluntary measures which the Governor had implemented last week, and take effect on a statewide basis immediately.
"This drought has devastated Maryland's water supply, drying up rivers, streams, and reservoirs," said Governor Glendening. "We must act responsibly now to contain this problem before it gets out of hand. These restrictions are simple, common sense, mandatory steps that everyone must take to help us conserve water. If each person does his or her part, we can work through this problem."
The full set of water restrictions, as well as restrictions on outside burning, are attached to this release.
"The more responsible we are today, the easier it will be for everyone in the coming weeks," said Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. "We are calling upon Maryland's great tradition of shared sacrifice in times of trouble and asking our citizens to go beyond the restrictions to conserve water any way they can."
Last week, the Governor declared the first statewide drought emergency in Maryland's history. At the time, the Governor enacted voluntary restrictions, and appointed a Drought Emergency Coordinating Committee, chaired by Environmental Secretary Jane Nishida, to study the drought and make recommendations to him about implementing mandatory water conservation measures.
The Committee released its report on Tuesday, concluding that drought conditions were so dire that the Governor ought to enact mandatory measures immediately. After studying the report, the Governor released his Executive Order, which implemented the Committee's recommendations.
"Moving from voluntary to mandatory restrictions was not an arbitrary decision," Governor Glendening said. "After reviewing the Committee's report, I have determined that this drought is so severe that we cannot solve this problem by voluntary restrictions alone."
The Governor's Executive Order requires that every Marylander conserve water by eliminating nearly all outdoor water use. The measures apply to all individuals, businesses, and governments in every jurisdiction. In addition, the measures apply to all citizens regardless of whether they usepublic water systems or wells.
The Executive Order authorizes local law enforcement authorities to penalize people who violate the restrictions. Penalties can range from a warning for the first offense to a maximum of a $1,000 fine.
"These are tough restrictions, but we will be reasonable and fair," the Governor said. "The Executive Order gives local authorities the discretion to grant exceptions for extreme hardship cases. And, we have set aside $250,000 in grants to help seniors and those with lower-incomes save water by buying water-conserving shower heads and repairing leaky faucets."
The Governor also announced that the State will provide comprehensive information on what people may or may not do to conserve water. For information regarding the drought, Marylanders can call the Department of Environment's toll-free hotline at 1-877-4-DROUGHT (1-877-437-6844).
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