The Office of Watershed Management manages and protects the drinking water supply watersheds for approximately 2.5 million residents of Massachusetts, primarily in Greater Boston.
The Office of Water Resources promotes water quality and conservation through several functions.
- The Office of Water Resources provides technical staff support to the Water Resources Commission, developing water resources policy and watershed planning efforts, coordinating the review of proposed interbasin transfers, administering cooperative programs with the US Geological Survey, and managing the Rainfall Program (a network of approximately 150 precipitation observation stations, operated by volunteers throughout Massachusetts, and a precipitation database for research and analysis). In addition, staff is undertaking an eight year program developing Water Needs Forecasts in support of MassDEP's Water Management Act permit renewal effort.
- Staff operate the statewide Lakes & Ponds Program, offering technical assistance to communities and citizen groups, monitoring water quality at various public beaches to ensure public safety, and providing educational materials to the public about various lake issues.
- The Flood Hazard Management Program is the state coordinating office for the National Flood Insurance Program, providing floodplain management technical information and assistance to community officials and others concerning the NFIP as well as coordinating statewide floodplain management policies to accomplish comprehensive flood loss reduction. This program also jointly administers, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the state's hazard mitigation programs, through planning and project grants and technical assistance to community officials.
- The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) received a $1.04 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ipswich River Watershed: EPA Targeted Watershed Grant program to demonstrate an integrated approach to addressing the problems facing the Ipswich River. This approach encompassed two strategies:
- Low-Impact Development (LID) – landscaping and design techniques that capture stormwater and recharge it to the groundwater
- Water Conservation – education strategies and technologies that reduce demand on water supplies, and associated groundwater pumping, especially during dry months