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Streamflow in Maryland Beginning to Show the Effects of Lack of Rain

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Wendy McPherson (
Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Water Science Center
5522 Research Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21228
FAX: (443)498-5510

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Updated: December 5 , 2000

November streamflow was 40-65 percent below normal for most of Maryland and Washington, D.C., while streamflow on the Eastern Shore and Delaware was normal. Groundwater levels were in the normal range for November, according to hydrologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Average streamflow into the Chesapeake Bay was 15.4 bgd (billion gallons per day), which is 59 percent below the long-term average for November--the second month in a row for below-normal flow to the Bay. The Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers provided 68 percent of the total streamflow to the Chesapeake Bay, discharging 7.7 bgd and 2.7 bgd, respectively. Streamflow at the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. averaged 1.9 bgd, which is 65 percent below normal for November.

The National Weather Service reported 1.73 in. of rainfall at the BWI airport during November, which is about half the normal rainfall of 3.32 in. The lack of rainfall is beginning to affect streamflow levels, but because of the seasonal decrease in water consumption by vegetation, Groundwater levels have not been affected to the same extent. Groundwater levels for November were in the normal range in most of Maryland and Delaware. Monthly updates of Groundwater conditions for 32 key observation wells that are representative of all counties of Maryland and Delaware can be found at

Water storage in the Baltimore reservoir system decreased during November to 61.58 billion gallons (81 percent of capacity).

As the Nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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