Reservoir Watershed Management Agreement


Pollution problems in the reservoir watersheds became very apparent during the 1970s and early '80s when algal blooms caused treatment problems and taste and odor issues for drinking-water customers. In the early 1970s, all three reservoirs were found to be in various states of eutrophication caused by too much phosphorus. Coordinated action had to be taken to correct the problems and to establish a basis for continual improvement in water quality in the reservoirs.

Reservoir Watershed Management Agreement

The above concerns led to an early Reservoir Agreement in 1979, which was significantly strengthened in 1984. This has been replaced by an expanded Reservoir Agreement signed in 2005. Signatories include Baltimore and Carroll Counties, Baltimore City, Baltimore County Soil Conservation District, Carroll Soil Conservation District, the Maryland Departments of Agriculture and the Environment, and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. Other governments which participate include Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties, all of them major users of reservoir water.


The 2005 Agreement has the fundamental goal of ensuring that the three reservoirs and their respective watersheds will continue to serve as sources of high-quality raw water for the Baltimore metropolitan water-supply system. Other goals address future loadings to the reservoirs of phosphorus, sediment, bacteria, sodium and chlorides; reducing the risk of contamination by hazardous materials; and promoting beneficial patterns of land use in the three watersheds. (See the actual agreement for more details.)

Reservoir Agreement