Lt. Governor Brown, Local Officials Announce Progress on Northeast Maryland Water Issues
OCEAN CITY, MD (August 14, 2009) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown met today with local officials at the Maryland Association of Counties Annual Convention in Ocean City to continue a conversation on water issues affecting northeast Maryland. Today’s meeting was scheduled as a follow up on the conversation that was started last November’s Northeast Intergovernmental Water Summit.
“Governor O’Malley and I are committed to sustainable growth and are actively engaging our local government partners in our efforts to protect and improve Maryland’s quality of life,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “I am particularly pleased that we have brought leaders from across northeast Maryland together to advance the inter-jurisdictional conversation regarding water issues in Baltimore, Cecil and Harford Counties, as well as in Baltimore City and all the municipalities in Cecil and Harford Counties. We know that strong, regional partnerships are the best way to increase the reliability of our water systems, to provide businesses with the water that is required for economic growth and ensure that the character of our neighbors defines our development.”
The original Water Summit was called in order to engage northeast Maryland jurisdictions (Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties, Baltimore City and all municipalities in Harford and Cecil counties) and develop a cooperative agreement to provide efficient delivery of water to the growing communities around northeast Maryland. During the initial meeting, the jurisdictions agreed to more effectively share local data on water capacity, supply and demand.
Since the initial Water Summit in November, the local jurisdictions have taken significant steps toward reaching a formal agreement that would provide more efficient delivery of water across the growing northeast Maryland region, including:
- The completion of two federally-supported studies to quantify water supply capacity and future demand for water systems in Harford and Cecil Counties and to identify options for financing necessary system improvements;
- An agreement between Harford County and the City of Aberdeen to provide an additional 100,000 gallons per day to Aberdeen from County sources;
- A Baltimore County initiative to collect information from each of the northeast jurisdictions to determine long-term water demand through 2050;
- Discussions between Baltimore City, the Maryland Department of Environment and the multi-state Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) regarding permit modifications to increase withdrawals from the Susquehanna River; and
- The recent expansion of the Perryville Water Plant in Cecil County.
The northeast Maryland region will experience significant population and economic growth in the coming years because of Base Realignment and Closure and additional economic development. The ongoing intergovernmental conversation about water concerns in the region is intended to ensure SmartGrowth principles and regional partnerships are fully utilized as a component of Maryland’s BRAC growth.
“Our water system is a partnership that has served us well for over a century. With limited outside funding for infrastructure rehabilitation and expansion needs, cooperative efforts among jurisdictions is now more crucial than ever,” said Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Mayors, executives and commissioners from all jurisdictions in northeast Maryland were scheduled to attend, including Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, Harford County Executive David Craig, Cecil County Commissioner Wayne Tome, and Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett. Mayors Kerry Anne Abrams (Port Deposit), Frank Hill (Chesapeake City) and Joe Fisona (Elkton) and Charlestown Commissioner Robert Gell were also scheduled to participate, as were members of Governor O’Malley’s cabinet, including Secretary Christian Johansson (Department of Business and Economic Development), Secretary Rich Hall (Department of Planning), Acting Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley (Department of Transportation) and Deputy Secretary Robert Summers (Department of Environment).
“The actions by the O’Malley-Brown Administration to focus on and give priority to regional water and wastewater solutions is the smartest possible way to address the water issues affecting northeast Maryland,” said Cecil County Commissioner Wayne Tome.
“Our water resources don’t recognize jurisdictional boundaries, we should think about the management of these resources in the same manner. Regional approaches to management only makes sense. We are pleased to be working with our State and County on this most important initiative,” said Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett.