Maryland residents and businesses in a large part of the state are urged to reduce their water usage after a drought watch was issued, the Maryland Department of the Environment announced Monday.

Under a drought watch, the MDE said it increases oversight of water supply conditions. No mandatory water use restrictions have been issued, but water conservation is encouraged.

Western Maryland and portions of central and eastern Maryland are under the watch because of lower-than-normal stream flows and groundwater levels for this time of year, the agency said.

Allegany, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford and Washington counties are under the watch, as are portions of Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties that are not served by the Baltimore City or Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission public water systems.

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Parts of the state affected by a drought watch, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. (Maryland Department of the Environment)

Rainstorms that recently moved to the area will not do enough to make up for the deficit in precipitation, the agency said.

“Water conservation is a good practice year-round, but we are asking residents and businesses to pay particular attention during the summer months when the State can experience hot and dry conditions,” MDE Secretary Serena McIlwain said in a statement.

So how can you conserve water?

“Limiting the use and duration of sprinklers for lawns, taking short showers as opposed to baths, and not leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth,” are some simple but good ways to conserve, McIlwain said.

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