Drought watch issued for Maryland counties

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued a drought watch for western and central Maryland, joining most of the Eastern Shore.

The drought watch announced Wednesday covers Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties, along with the portions of Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore counties that are not served by the Baltimore City or Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission public water systems.

Last month, the department issued a drought watch covering Kent County and all counties below it on the Eastern Shore.

MDE says rainfall in the region for the first four months of the year has been about 64 percent of normal. During a drought watch, the department says it increases monitoring of water supplies as well as encouraging conservation.