|Location||Baltimore County, Maryland|
|Primary inflows||Gunpowder Falls|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||206.5 km²|
|Water volume||19,000,000,000 US gal (0.072 km3)|
Prettyboy Reservoir occupies 206.5 sq/km of northern Baltimore County, Maryland, also known as the Hereford Zone. Even though the reservoir is located in the county, Baltimore City owns the reservoir and the surrounding land. The reservoir is one of three reservoirs created to supply the Metropolitan Baltimore municipal water system. Prettyboy Reservoir, along with Loch Raven Reservoir that is downstream on the Gunpowder Falls, provide about 61% of the drinking water for the entire Baltimore Metropolitan system. For this reason, the Prettyboy is considered a “source water” or drinking water watershed. The reservoir on average contains about 19 billion US gallons (72,000,000 m3) of water.
The water from Prettyboy Reservoir is transferred to Loch Raven Reservoir via Gunpowder Falls rather than directly to Baltimore. It is then transferred via tunnel from Loch Raven to the Montebello Filtration Plants in Baltimore for treatment and distribution. Prettyboy Dam, completed in 1932, impounds the Gunpowder Falls to create the Reservoir. The dam has a spillway crest elevation of 520 ft (160 m) of MSL and covers about 1,500 acres (6.1 km2).
Prettyboy Reservoir sits behind the scenic Prettyboy Dam on the Gunpowder River. Popular for hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, fishing, and boating Prettyboy makes a fun weekend adventure only minutes up Interstate 83 from Baltimore City. Hunting is also permitted (archery only); special permits apply. Pennsylvania hunters enjoy an early season of warm weather hunting. Prettyboy is also popular for swimming, though this activity is prohibited. Sport bike riders and sports car enthusiasts also flock to the roads in the parklands that surround the reservoir.
Kayak and tubing enthusiasts can float or paddle the Lower Gunpowder Falls from the dam down to Falls Road or Masemore Road. The river between those two points contains mainly Flatwater to class II rapids but one section contains a class III when the water level is normal or higher. Heavy spring rains mean that both gates at the dam may be opened to allow excess water through. Increased water levels make for excellent kayaking because of the narrow width of Falls' valley.
Department of Public Works Police Officers are now patrolling all three of the cities watersheds.
On June 23, 2008, Prettyboy Reservoir became the site of the first rescue performed by the Baltimore County Fire Department using a helicopter with rescuers dangling from a rope. The victim was a 30-year-old woman who had injured herself while walking her dog. The department had just been trained in the rescue two weeks earlier.
- Jim Joyner (June 22, 2012). "Loch Raven, Prettyboy and Liberty reservoirs off limits to swimmers". Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- wjz.com - Helicopter Teams Have Success With First Rescue
- Topic Galleries - baltimoresun.com