Reservoir Natural Resources

Loch-RavenThe City of Baltimore supplies water to approximately 1.8 million people in a 215 square mile service area consisting of the City itself and portions of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard Counties. In addition, Carroll County withdraws raw water from Liberty Reservoir for treatment and distribution to part of the Freedom District of Carroll County; and Harford County withdraws raw water from the Susquehanna Pipeline, either fed by Conowingo Reservoir or backfed by Loch Raven Reservoir, for treatment and distribution to the Abingdon area of Harford County. To meet the demands of this service area, the City developed three sources of supply: the Gunpowder Falls, the North Branch Patapsco River and the Susquehanna River.

There are two impoundments on Gunpowder Falls: Loch Raven, a 2400-acre terminal reservoir, and Prettyboy, a 1500-acre upstream reservoir. Liberty Reservoir is a 3100-acre terminal reservoir located on the North Branch Patapsco River. Conowingo Reservoir, formed by the Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam, serves as an impoundment on the Susquehanna River.

The reservoirs not only store water but also support a natural settling and biological processes that improve the quality of the stored water and reduce treatment costs. However, for the natural purification to be effective, the reservoirs must be maintained in a reasonably natural environment. It is essential that care be taken to protect the reservoirs and contiguous watershed land from outside influences that would adversely affect the natural processes.

As forestland and farmland in the privately owned portions of the drainage areas are converted to housing developments, industrial parks, and shopping centers, the importance of the 17,580 acres of City-owned watershed property surrounding the three reservoirs increases as does the need to protect it.

We ask all visitors to remember that the reservoirs were created for the sole purpose of maintaining an ample supply of water of the highest quality for treatment and distribution to consumers in the Metropolitan Baltimore area and that recreational use must, of necessity, be relegated to a position of lesser importance.

Reservoir Levels