The Baltimore City Department of Public Works is asking residents of the city, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County to cut down on excessive water usage after a fire at a DPW pumping station strained the region’s drinking water system.

The “Voluntary Water Restriction” is effective immediately, the mayor’s office announced in a Thursday evening press release, and was put into place with “county and state partners” across the region.

The restriction follows a fire Thursday morning at the Cromwell Water Pumping station in Baltimore County, which caused the station to lose power and damaged two of its pumps, “adding strain to the entire system,” the release said.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore County Fire Department did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

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“We are asking everyone in our service area to work together to support the region’s drinking water system by taking steps to limit any unnecessary strain while DPW works to bring the Cromwell Water Pumping station back online,” said DPW Interim Director Richard J. Luna in the release.

Officials are asking residents and businesses to take steps to reduce water usage, such as avoiding watering lawns or gardens, washing cars or other equipment, and not using more water than you need to brush your teeth or shave.

But, residents don’t have to limit their use of water for drinking, cooking or cleaning, the press release said.

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