County officials are again urging residents in the Freedom area to conserve water.
Dry weather and high usage are depleting reserve supplies for the 5,000 households, which rely on the Freedom District Water Treatment Facility in South Carroll for their water supply.
In a release issued Aug. 31, the county Bureau of Utilities called for conservation particularly in the early evening hours. Residents apparently have not heeded the warning and have pushed the plant close to its 3 million gallons-per-day capacity.
"We have had a lot of surge, which peaked at 2.9 million gallons on Labor Day," said Cindy Parr, county communications manger. "We want residents to actively participate in a campaign to cut down water usage."
The plant can handle the maximum 3 million gallons, but only on a short-term basis, said Wayne Lewns, bureau chief. If daily flows continue to reach high levels, the effective operation of the plant could be in jeopardy, he said.
"Over the Labor Day weekend, our water reserves in area storage tanks were seriously depleted," said Mr. Lewns in a Sept. 6 press release.
The county has not imposed a ban on outdoor usage as yet, but is asking residents to monitor water use from 6 to 9 p.m.
When the county is dealing with a "severe drought," conservation and not green lawns should be the priority, said Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown.
"The grass comes back," he said.
Renovations to improve plant capacity are continuing, he said.
"By this time next year, we will be better able to handle the situation," said Mr. Brown.