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Planning for Bel Air's Future

Providing high-quality, reliable water service is our business. That’s why we’re developing a sustainable water supply solution that addresses the long-term water needs of Bel Air.


Maryland American Water Promise

Maryland American Water has been serving this area for over 80 years, and would like to continue to provide this service in a way that assures long-term reliable water service to our customers, no matter the weather pattern; that service is provided at a reasonable cost; and that we are able to maintain the system and supply such that it meets all federal and state standards today and into the future. That's our promise to you.


In 1999, statewide concerns for water supply during severe drought prompted Maryland’s Governor to form a Technical Advisory Committee to study the issue and make recommendations. 

Based on the recommendations, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) issued Water Supply Capacity Guidance in 2006. This guidance establishes the requirements for Water Supply Capacity Management Planning, which helps water systems determine the supply capacity needs of their water systems. Capacity Management Plans are not required of water systems that are operating at less than 80 percent of their Water Appropriation Permit. Maryland American Water is under 80 percent of its Water Appropriation Permit and is not required to submit a Capacity Management Plan.

In February of 2013, the Harford County Health Department questioned the purchase water agreement between Maryland American Water and Harford County. The Health Department put a hold on building permits to allow time to review Maryland American Water’s source of supply capacity with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) and the existing purchase water agreement between Maryland American Water and Harford County. Although the County has been able to supply water during droughts, the “provided that water is available” condition in the agreement was not acceptable to MDE and the Health Department.


Short-Term Solution
Maryland American Water reaches purchase water agreement with Harford County

Harford County and Maryland American Water, with assistance from the Town of Bel Air developed a temporary purchase water agreement in late 2014. This agreement, which provides 40,000 additional gallons per day, was acceptable to MDE and the Health Department and enables new development to continue while a long term solution is developed. The agreement is for a maximum of four years and ends in 2018.

Long-Term Solutions
Construct new water impoundment 

Water supply capacity has historically been and continues to be a problem for the entire region. Maryland American Water reviewed several potential options and settled on the development of a raw water impoundment. A raw water impoundment fulfills all of Maryland American Water’s critical needs by providing a long-term, sustainable water supply. The new structure is an environmentally-sound option that will be built off Winters Run, only to be filled when stream flows are high. This design won’t impede natural stream flows, won’t disrupt the local ecology, and will provide a 100-day supply in case of drought or emergency.


Bel Air Impoundment Permit Application

Bel Air Impoundment Breach Analysis Report

Letters of Support

Bel Air Water System at a Glance

• Service Began: 1932
• Customers Served:  4,800 in the Town of Bel Air and parts of Harford County. 
• Source of Supply: Winters Run, two groundwater wells and a purchase water connection from Harford County.
• Permitted capacity: 2.72 million gallons per day (MGD).
• Average Daily Customer Demand: 1.46 MGD with a peak of 1.90 MGD.
• Additional Amount Provided From Harford County: 40,000 gallons per day until the impoundment is completed.

Frequently Asked Questions


Project Manager Mike Youshock

Alison Bibb-Carson
External Affairs Consultant

This information is also available in a downloadable pdf format: Bel Air Water Supply Update: Spring 2015 

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