Stories about water shortages usually emanate from the Southwest, desert climates such as Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., and Las Vegas.

That's why it's so interesting to hear that the HBA of Maryland is working closely with officials in Carroll County, west of Baltimore, to solve the county's water crisis.

The water shortage came to a head last summer when the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) determined that the city of Westminster, located in Carroll County, had an insufficient water supply to handle drought conditions. The state issued a moratorium on new residential projects, directing the city to stop approving new building permits.

In response to the situation, as well as similar water shortages countywide and throughout the region, Carroll County planned to host a “Water Summit” early this month.

Steve Horn, the county's planning director, says the first meeting will focus on water rights and water law and will bring together officials from the Carroll County government and the county's eight municipalities. Business groups such as the HBA will be welcome to attend the sessions as observers.

“We will also invite state and federal officials to future meetings later this year,” says Horn, who adds that solutions under discussion include drilling wells and building reservoirs.

Both approaches have their difficulties. Drilling in the rocky terrain in Western Maryland is a hit-and-miss proposition, which can make the procedure very expensive. And building a reservoir requires a genuine consensus among, local, county, state, and federal officials, a difficult and time-consuming process.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Baltimore, MD, Tucson, AZ.