Maryland Residents Required to Conserve Water
by Michael Herman
Because of the most severe drought in 100 years, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening has ordered restrictions on water use. So far, county residents have reduced water consumption by an amazing 18% since the restrictions went into effect in early August. Still, with no significant rainfall in sight, Riverdale Park residents must continue to do our part.
Since there is some confusion over what is permitted and what is prohibited, here is a brief list that apply to state residents:
You may water plants, shrubs, flowers and trees with either a hand-held hose or watering bucket of some type.
You must request drinking water in a restaurant since servers cannot automatically supply it now.
You may also engage in any conduct that is not specifically prohibited:
You may not wash a car with either a hose or other method (You may, however, go to a commercial car wash that meets the recycling requirements of the state).
You may not use a sprinkler to water any plant life, including lawns, plants, shrubs, flowers or trees.
You may not fill or add water to a private pool for swimming.
You may not wash any streets, roads, sidewalks, driveways, porches, buildings, garages, parking areas or patios.
You may not operate an ornamental fountain, artificial waterfall, or reflecting pool.
For businesses: Request for voluntary compliance with a ten percent reduction in water use.
Regardless of the restrictions, Riverdale Park residents should serve as an example of selfless conduct and undertake as much conservation as possible. Even if we reduce water consumption by 10 percent during the drought emergency, experts forecast severe water shortages within six months without unusually heavy rainfall between now and winter. We can not predict rain in the future. Therefore, we can do even more to voluntarily restrict water use. Here are some things to think about:
375 million gallons of water per month could be saved if all Maryland residents reduced shower time by just one minute!!
300 million gallons of water per month could be saved by turning off the faucet when brushing teeth!!
787 million gallons of water could be saved per month by doing only full loads of laundry!!
These are just a few ways we can save water to ensure that there will be enough even if the drought continues. You can also save water by using dishwashers in place of hand washing (dishwashers use 9-12 gallons per load. The same amount of dishes hand washed uses an average of 20 gallons). You can check all faucets and toilets, and put new washers on leaking faucets and replace toilet mechanisms when water continues to run after the tank is full.
If we are all mindful of water use, we will overcome this difficult time. However, if we are selfish and refuse to abide by the restrictions, more rigid restrictions may result. Violating the present restrictions may result in warnings or fines to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.
For additional information, call toll-free 1-877-4-DROUGHT during business hours or see the drought website at http://www.gov.state.md.us.
Michael Herman is the Ward 1 Councilmember.
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