U.S. Water News Online
SUNBURY, Pa. -- Baltimore can withdraw up to 250 million
gallons a day from the Susquehanna River to meet the metropolitan
area's growing water needs under an agreement it has reached with the
agency that oversees the river.
The city agreed in return to withdraw its legal challenge to the
authority of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which represents
New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
The agreement settles an eight-year feud between the commission
and Baltimore, which supplies water to the nearly 40 percent of
Maryland's residents who live in the city and five surrounding
The municipal system relies primarily on three reservoirs in
Baltimore County to serve the region's 1.8 million customers, but the
city has drawn water from the Susquehanna on an emergency basis many
times during severe droughts.
The agreement sets the stage for new negotiations over management
of the river among the city and others who draw water from the huge
pool behind Conowingo Dam. Two-thirds of the pool is in Pennsylvania,
the remainder in Maryland.
Under the agreement, the commission allows Baltimore to draw 250
million gallons a day, but maintains the authority to cut that rate
as low as 64 million gallons a day during extreme dry spells.
The city also is required to enforce water conservation measures
at those times, though it may ask the commission to increase its
withdrawal from the river if the demand or the availability of water
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