- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Restrictions on outdoor water use have been placed on three St. Mary’s County neighborhoods starting today, June 20.
Watering of lawns is prohibited at the Forrest Farm neighborhood off Brown Road in Hollywood, Leonardtown Farms neighborhood off Route 5 in Redgate and the Villages at Leonardtown at Budds Creek Road and Route 5.
The restrictions imposed by the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission at Forrest Farm limit watering of gardens, shrubs and trees to every other night, said Jacquelyn Meiser, director of the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission, which operates public water and sewer systems.
Gardens, shrubs and trees can be watered each night in Leonardtown Farms and Villages at Leonardtown, she said. Cars can only be washed in the neighborhoods with a bucket and a garden hose with a shut-off nozzle. A hose can’t be left running while washing a car, she said.
Cars can only be washed every other night at Forrest Farms with the same stipulations. Pools cannot be filled there right now, she said.
The imposed restrictions will remain in effect until water usage comes down into compliance with water pumping permits with the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Water restrictions also were placed on these neighborhoods last summer.
“They have big lawns and nice lawns, in-ground irrigation systems,” Meiser said, which draws heavily on the water systems.
The restrictions come just in time for the first official summertime heat wave. Temperatures are expected to reach the 90s this week.
So far this year, Wes Gleason has recorded 12.87 inches of precipitation at his Hollywood location. He took over the weather records of the late Floyd Abell, who started keeping records in 1980. Abell’s precipitation average for the first six months of the year was 22.66 inches.
The level of rainfall indirectly affects MetCom’s drinking water supply.
MetCom water systems pull out of underground confined aquifers, which are not affected by local rainfall. However, the increased need to water plants and lawns puts more pressure on underground aquifers.
MetCom uses the Aquia aquifer and now, more preferably, the deeper Patapsco aquifer. The Aquia is 450 feet to 600 feet down and many private wells use it. The Patapsco is 914 feet down, according to MetCom.
A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, Maryland Geological Survey and MDE found that the deepest parts of the water in the Patapsco are up to 1 million years old. The water pumped up from wells, though, is tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years old.