|Mass.Gov Home Page||State Agencies||State A-Z Topic List|
26. Interbasin Transfer Act
Authorities: M.G.L. c. 21, §§ 8B-D: Interbasin Transfer Act; 313 CMR 4.00: Interbasin Transfer Regulations.
Jurisdiction: Massachusetts river basins.
Applicability: Transfer of any significant amount of water, including wastewater, outside a Massachusetts river basin.
Regulatory Summary: This statute is intended to manage the transfer of significant amounts of water between watersheds for the purpose of protecting reasonable streamflows within the donor and receiving river basins. The Massachusetts Water Resources Commission (WRC) evaluates proposed out-of-basin water transfers.
Review Process: Proposed transfers may be determined to be insignificant if they: (1) are under 1,000,000 gallons per day; (2) do not harm special resource values such as endangered species or Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC); (3) withdraw less than 5% of the instantaneous flow at a point in the stream determined by the WRC; and (4) do not diminish the 95% exceedence flow or wastewater dilution needs as determined by the 7 Q 10 flow. The WRC evaluation is based solely on environmental impacts of the proposed transfer. The WRC has 90 days to respond to a Request for Determination of Insignificance.
Interbasin transfers that cannot meet these tests of insignificance must be authorized by the WRC, which must hold two public hearings as part of its review. The WRC has 60 days from receipt of an Interbasin Transfer Act application to hold the hearings and 60 days after the close of hearings to make a decision. Before allowing a transfer, the WRC must determine that all practical water conservation measures have been taken and all viable local water sources have been developed in the receiving basin, and that reasonable instream flows will be maintained in the donor basin. Proponents should consider interbasin diversions to be a last resort after all other inbasin options have been exhausted.
Contact: Department of Conservation and Recreation Office of Water Resources (617) 626-1366.
Publication Date: Fall, 2003
A publication of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA170Z2338. This publication is funded (in part) by a grant/cooperative agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies.