Municipal water access in Baltimore City.

If you live in Baltimore City and plan to tend a parcel of land under an Adopt-A-Lot license agreement, it may seem easy to get access to water: just fill out the online Community Managed Open Space Water Access Request Form, pay $120.00 for the growing season (March to November), and the city will provide you with water access.

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.

If you’re growing on a lot that used to have a house on it, when the house was demolished, the water infrastructure that connects the water main to the lot may have been damaged or removed. So for many of the properties available through the Adopt-A-Lot program, there is no viable source of water nearby.

Some Adopt-A-Lot licensees have been using fire hydrants to water their lot, under longstanding agreements with the Baltimore Fire Department. However, the Fire Department has recently been rescinding these agreements, because, in some cases, licensees may damage the fire hydrant by opening and closing it.

Other Adopt-A-Lot licensees run hoses from their homes to water their plots. If their homes are too far away, they might run a hose from a neighbor’s home.

If you’re using a neighbor’s water supply to water your lot, all parties should sign a written agreement that sets up a method to determine fair reimbursement for the costs of the additional water to the neighbor. The agreement should be simple, but it should be in writing, signed by all parties, and include a description of the rights and responsibilities of all parties as well as a description of what will happen in the event of a disagreement.

In conclusion, it seems that the real barrier to municipal water access in Baltimore City is a problem of infrastructure, not a legal barrier.

Posted on by Becky Witt

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