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Thirsty? Plenty of water in the reservoirs

With December arriving tonight along with what is expected to be a heavy rain, you could say we're entering the recharge season for the region's reservoirs.

Despite a summer of hot, dry weather, the city's reservoir system stands at 86 percent of capacity, according to the Department of Public Works. There are some 65 billion gallons in storage, about 10 billion short of capacity.

Liberty Reservoir is at 83 percent; Loch Raven is at 90 percent, and Prettyboy stands at 87 percent.

That's probably pretty good for this time of year, said Kurt L. Kocher, spokesman for the DPW:

"There have been so many fluctuations over the years that what is typical is hard to pinpoint.  In the mid 80s percent range is solid to a bit above average. We started out the year and went through most of last year with full or close to full reservoirs. We hit a dry spell in the summer with very hot temperatures which increases water usage. Higher temperatures meant high evaporation as well, then we had that one tropical event. Usually we would see a couple tropical storms replenish summer losses, but this is still quite good for late fall."

And with most vegetation now dormant for the winter, whatever falls in the watershed from now on will mostly seep into groundwater or flow into the surface system, recharging it for next year.

(SUN PHOTO: Barbara Haddock Taylor, Loch Raven Reservoir, November 2007)

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