In order to promote water conservation and decrease runoff to the Chesapeake Bay, the Town of Middletown previously partnered with the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin to create the Rain Barrel Program. The Town now partners with the Scott Key Center to offer rain barrels for sale to town residents for $40. The Scott Key Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide work for adults with developmental disabilities, produces rain barrels which provides meaningful wages for their employees who manufacture them. The rain barrels are offered each spring for sale to town residents for half of their normal price on a first come first served basis, with a limit of two per resident. The rain barrels are made from food-grade recycled terra cotta barrels that hold 55 gallons of rain water. The high-quality barrels come with a lid for child safety and a screen to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. An overflow hose is also included. The rain barrel program is advertised on the Town's website, flyers go out with the quarterly town newsletter and e-mails about the program are sent to town residents.
Water Conservation Public Alert System
During the 2002 drought that the entire State of Maryland experienced, residents and businesses were confused with the numerous types and locations of water bans throughout the area. The Burgess and Commissioners of Middletown created the Water Conservation Public Alert System to keep the public informed as to the current status of the Town's public drinking water system.
Since that time, the Town uses the following to keep the public informed:
water faucet signs are erected at the entrances to the town with a color coded water drop (a blue water drop represents Code Blue, a yellow water drop represents Code Yellow, and a red water drop represents Code Red);
the code status is posted on the Town Website;
a code status change is announced in the local newspaper.
The Town also established an ordinance that places restrictions on water use and includes penalties for violating water restrictions. One such restriction is that the watering of lawns or grassy areas of property is prohibited at any time between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm during the least restrictive periods of water use under the water conservation public alert system (Code Blue).In 2003, the Town of Middletown put into place a Water Conservation Program Action Plan. Action Plan items included: water conservation information fact sheets to be included in the quarterly water bills, advertising in the local paper about the importance of water conservation, working with the local schools to schedule regular water conservation classes throughout the year, and setting up a section on the Town's website devoted to water conservation information.
The graph above shows that water usage in the Town has decreased in spite of the increase in population. This is due in part to the water conservation efforts talked about above. Other reasons that probably contribute to the decrease in water usage are the use of low-flow toilets and showerheads, more efficient washers and dishwashers, and the widespread use of rain barrels by residents throughout the Town. In order to promote water conservation and decrease runoff to the Chesapeake Bay, the Town of Middletown previously partnered with the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin to create the Rain Barrel Program. The Town now partners with the Scott Key Center to offer rain barrels for sale to town residents for $40.