August 16, 2021 Baltimore County

Baltimore County today released a new report following a comprehensive review of the business processes that govern the water delivery system that serves both Baltimore County and Baltimore City residents.

“This report is a critical and long overdue step towards improving how our jurisdictions can better work in partnership to modernize our shared water system,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “I appreciate Baltimore City’s commitment to this collaborative effort, and my administration remains open to exploring to all productive paths forward, including consideration of a regional authority so that we can best support all our residents.”

Jointly commissioned by Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the the study was conducted by independent national experts NewGen Strategies and Solutions and performed a comprehensive review of the shared water system’s existing governance structure, operations, and procedures. The report released today identified a number of challenges, including consistent issues with customer billing, limited regional coordination, and systematic limitations for long-term planning and improvements.

The study concluded that the jurisdictions should convene a diverse stakeholder group to explore additional regional solutions, including potential alternative governance structures, in order to help standardize high quality water services across the region, improve the overall customer experience, and lower shared costs through economies of scale.

Residents of both jurisdictions currently receive water through a system managed by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works under an agreement that dates back to 1972. Under the agreement that governs the shared sewer system, Baltimore City bills all customers for water use. Each jurisdiction bills its own residents for sewer charges and other related charges.

Given the age of the agreements, officials in both jurisdictions led the effort to conduct this study to determine whether changes are needed to modernize system management in order to improve customer service. 

The jurisdictions will continue to work collaboratively to consider the recommendations outlined in the new study. 

The full report is available here.