updated 12/17/2009 8:45:34 PM ET 2009-12-18T01:45:34

Officials are asking 1.8 million residents in the Baltimore area to conserve water after a 42-inch pipe burst and flooded streets in the latest in a series of such problems.

Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher says the pipe that ties into a 30-inch main broke about midday Thursday, causing severe roadway flooding and damage. Kocher said by late evening, the water was mostly shut off.

He did not how many homes were without water in what is the latest in a series of pipe breaks in the area.

Kocher said Baltimore residents and those in surrounding counties who get water from the city should conserve.

A pipe rupture in September and two this month also flooded Baltimore County streets. The mayor says infrastructure improvement is desperately needed.

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