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Water Science for Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia

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Water Conditions as of September 2012

September rainfall has helped with drought recovery and MDE has no drought designation for Maryland as of the end of September. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) sets the drought status for Maryland based on the following water-supply criteria: groundwater levels (USGS), streamflow (USGS), precipitation, and reservoir levels. For more details about the Maryland drought status, visit MDE’s website:

The U.S. Drought Monitor web site map ( issued on October 2, 2012 showed less than 1 percent of the State of Maryland in severe drought, however, 28 percent of the state is still in some drought status. In Maryland, the Eastern Shore, where much of the land is used for farming, had the most severe drought conditions in the State during the spring and summer, but this area received enough rainfall in September to reduce the drought status.

Delaware did not get as much drought relief from rainfall as Maryland in September. As of October 2, the area in Delaware designated as abnormally dry to some level of drought status was 76 percent, with 44 percent of the area in severe drought status.


At the end of September, 2012, groundwater levels were normal in 15 of the 26 USGS monitoring wells. Groundwater levels at nine wells were below normal and above normal at two wells in Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland.

Monthly mean streamflow was normal at 22 of 33 streamflow-gaging stations. For the remaining streams, the number of stations with above and below normal monthly mean streamflow were about the same.  There has been considerable improvement across the region, but especially on the southern Delmarva Peninsula, since the beginning of spring 2012.

A percentile is a value on a scale from 0 to 100 that indicates the percent of a distribution that is equal to or below it. For example, a groundwater level in the 90th percentile is equal to or greater than 90 percent of the values recorded for that month. more in the current MD-DE-DC Monthly Water Conditions Summary.

Monthly Groundwater Conditions Monthly Streamflow Conditions
Map of Monthly Groundwater Levels in MD-DE-DC

Click on each map to view hydrographs.


Real Time MD Streamflow Real Time DE Streamflow
Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for this day of the year.

Map Explanation

What is a percentile?

The real-time data used to produce this map are provisional and have not been reviewed or edited. They may be subject to significant change. The map depicts streamflow conditions as measured at USGS gaging stations. The colors represent discharge as a percentile, which is computed from the period of record for the current day of the year. Only stations having at least 30 years of record are used.

Active real-time stations having more than 30 years of continuous record are shown as colored circles. Uncolored circles depict stations having less than 30 years of record, or that are currently not transmitting.

Note: Hold down the Shift key and click on Reload or Refresh to make sure you have the most recent image or table.

Drought Status


There is currently no drought designation in Maryland.

For more information, visit:


Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

District of Columbia

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG):
Current Water Supply Report
Drought Stages

Drought Resources

Drought: Frequently Asked Questions
Drought Definitions

National Drought Monitoring

National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
US Drought Monitor

Weather and Climate

Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC)
NWS Sterling
NWS Philadelphia
Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center: MARFC Departures from Average
Maryland Weather Blog: The Baltimore Sun

Water Supply

Baltimore City
Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC)
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)

Water Conservation

Maryland Department of the Environment: Water Conservation
Water Wise Website
Use It Wisely

Related links

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
GIS Drought Monitoring

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Page Last Modified: Friday, January 25, 2013