June 2, 2009

RE: Seasonal Demand Management Plan for Permitted Agricultural Facilities (excluding cranberry growers)

Dear Agricultural Facility Manager:

Consistent with good water conservation practices and as part of the Water Management Permit Renewal, permitted agricultural facilities are required to implement a drought triggered Seasonal Demand Management Plan (SDMP) at permit renewal. The SDMP, at a minimum, restricts nonessential outdoor water use between May 1st and September 30th when the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force declares a drought level of "Advisory" or higher ("Watch", "Warning" or "Emergency") for the region in which the water withdrawal point is located.  Further reductions on nonessential irrigation are encouraged.

The SDMP is intended to address the necessary minimums of acceptable demand management required as dry conditions begin to impact our environment from May through September.

To assist agricultural facility managers, the Department committed to developing a SDMP form for permittees. The attached form was developed to facilitate the requirement of the SDMP, assess your implementation of agricultural Best Management Practices, and evaluate your ability to implement a SDMP consistent with the requirements in your permit.

Of particular importance in developing your SDMP and in evaluating its effect on your agricultural irrigation, is the recognition of nonessential outside water uses. Nonessential outside water use refers to incidental landscape watering, washing parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, etc. The Department acknowledges, however, that irrigation in the production of food or fiber is considered an essential use and not subject to SDMP restrictions. If your facility has no nonessential outside water use, please indicate as such in Section A on the SDMP form.

The completed outline form may serve as your SDMP, pending the Department's review and approval and incorporation into your permit at the next permit renewal. As designated in your permit renewal, you are required to implement the reductions in your SDMP whenever a Drought Advisory or higher is declared for the region in which your water withdrawal point is located.

Please complete and return the SDMP form to the Department in advance of permit renewal. The Department will notify you if further action is required in order for you to modify your plan in advance of the implementation date. Otherwise, you can consider your SDMP approved.

Should you have any questions concerning this matter please contact Duane LeVangie at 617-292-5706 or Tom Lamonte at 617-292-5532.