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Drought restrictions remain

August 27, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Not nearly enough rain has fallen in August to justify ending statewide water restrictions imposed because of the drought, a Maryland Department of the Environment spokeswoman said Friday.

It would take at least a foot of rain to end the drought restrictions, spokeswoman Susan Woods said.

"That is probably in the ballpark," agreed Greg Murray, director of the Washington County Water and Sewer Department.

Hagerstown has received 2.5 inches of rain this month, according to weather observer Greg Keefer.

Washington County Water and Sewer records said the amount of rainfall for the month varied from 3.93 inches in the Sharpsburg area to 3.4 inches near Fort Ritchie, 2.2 inches in Williamsport and 1.95 inches in Smithsburg.

The National Weather Service said rainstorms this weekend are expected to bring about a quarter-inch of rain.

Woods said that only Gov. Parris N. Glendening can lift the drought restrictions he imposed Aug. 4.

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A drought task force advising Glendening is meeting Wednesday to look at data, including rainfall, reservoir levels, river flows and long-range forecasts, Woods said.

While it is possible the task force will consider lifting some restrictions that is "highly unlikely," she said.

The recent rain is unrelated to a decision by Glendening Thursday night to ease watering restrictions for plants, lawns and turf seeded or sodded in connection with new construction, she said.

That decision was based on economic hardship on sod farms and landscape businesses and concern about soil erosion at construction sites, she said.

The new rules allow watering in such cases between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. until the grass or plants are established.

The prior restriction limited watering during those hours to grass seeded or sodded between July 1 and Aug. 4.

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