BALTIMORE, MD (May 16, 2005) – Maryland’s population will grow by over one million people in the next quarter-century, which means the state will have to find an average of 233 million additional gallons of water a day to serve the larger population. Carefully planned and built, the housing and related development that will accompany this growth can impact the quantity and quality of our water supplies by reducing the recharge of groundwater sources and contaminating surface supplies with stormwater runoff carrying pollutants. Mindful of these concerns through an earlier study he commissioned, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., is moving forward to continue his effort in improving planning for water supply needs.
Governor Ehrlich whose executive order created the first Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State’s Water Resources in 2003, said, “Maryland has been blessed with an abundant supply of water. Our obligation to future generations is to manage that water supply wisely. In their final report, Dr. Wolman and his committee gave us a clear blueprint for future actions based on good science. My Administration concurs with many of their recommendations and today through Executive Order 01.01.2005.25, I am establishing a successor committee to advise the State in implementing programs and policies for the long-term sustainable use and protection of the State’s water resources.”
The successor Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State’s Water Resources again will be chaired by Dr. M. Gordon “Reds” Wolman, of The Johns Hopkins University. Additional committee members will include state elected officials, key cabinet secretaries (or designees) and up to seven members appointed by the Governor to include representatives of local government, the environmental, agricultural, and business communities, and other individuals from the general public with relevant interest or expertise.
“During the drought of 2002, Marylanders recognized for the first time in recent memory that our water resources are not limitless,” the secretary of the environment, Kendl P. Philbrick, said. “We must improve our monitoring and management of this vital resource if we are going to continue to have a vibrant and growing economy in Maryland. We clearly have more work to do and we look forward to continuing our efforts with the assistance of Dr. Wolman and the members of the successor advisory committee.”
The 15-member blue-ribbon Advisory Committee will:
Review the latest information from State, local and federal agencies concerning assessments of the quality and quantity of the State’s ground and surface water resources;
Review local, State and federal laws, regulations, policies and funding related to the management, development, conservation and protection of ground and surface water resources;
Assess the adequacy of existing governmental resources, regulatory, enforcement and monitoring programs that are available for the management, development, conservation and protection of the State’s ground and surface water resources;
Identify alternatives for additional sources of water supply, such as storage, reservoirs, water system interconnections, inter-basin water transfers, or other means that may be necessary to meet future water demand;
Recommend additional actions, studies, policies, regulations or laws necessary to assure that the management and protection of the State’s surface and ground water resources is conducted in a manner consistent with their long-term sustainable use and protection;
Identify appropriate State, federal and local government and private funding mechanisms to ensure that the actions recommended by the Committee may be appropriately implemented; and
Develop and recommend to the Governor a comprehensive strategy, including the above elements and any other elements the Committee believes are necessary to ensure the adequacy of the State’s water resources to meet the current and projected demand for water through 2030.
The Maryland Department of the Environment will provide staff support to the Advisory Committee, which will meet on a quarterly basis or more often if necessary.
The Advisory Committee will report its interim findings and recommendations to the Governor by July 1, 2006 and its final findings and recommendations by July 1, 2008.
The full report of the first committee and the MDE action plan are available from the department and may be downloaded at: mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/water_supply/Pages/wr_advisory_committee.aspx.
MDE has developed an action plan to implement the seven key recommendations contained in the first committee’s report. It includes immediate steps to ensure that current resources are directed toward addressing the most pressing recommendations and provisions to evaluate additional regulatory and/or legislative measures that can be taken in the future. Additionally, MDE is coordinating an outreach program to inform the public about water supply issues and the importance of planning appropriately, which will include joint seminars with the Department of Planning this summer, followed by regional workshops throughout the state this fall.
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