Since people, businesses, wildlife, and natural lands all need adequate water, the Commonwealth must follow sustainable water policy guidelines to support ecological needs while meeting the requirements of regional economic growth, supporting high-quality jobs, increasing housing affordability, enhancing tourism, and maintaining a high quality of life that includes recreational opportunities and vital habitats.
The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs addresses this challenge in the 2004 Water Policy that both promotes wise management and efficient use of our water resources and provides a framework of principles, goals, and actions for managing water in Massachusetts.
Download the Massachusetts Water Policy file size 1MB
The Massachusetts Water Policy, released in October 2004, was developed over a six-month period after extensive discussion with a task force that included representatives from environmental groups, industry, public works, local, state and federal government. The Task Force conducted focused discussions on key water-related issues that face Massachusetts and recommended a process for protecting water resources. The Policy recommends an effective partnership with local and regional stakeholders, protection of critical water resources, and streamlining specific regulatory and permitting processes.
In brief, the Policy makes the following ten major recommendations:
- Create a "Stress Framework" with increasingly stringent performance standards, recommendations and requirements as a community's basin approaches highly stressed.
- Develop clear guidance and planning materials to help communities meet existing and future water uses by developing watershed solutions based on water budgets.
- Pursue legislation requiring the use of enterprise accounts to fund operation and maintenance of infrastructure, stormwater mitigation and other water resource protection efforts.
- Increase treated wastewater recharge and reuse.
- Promote stormwater recharge close to its site of origin.
- Advance effective management of water supplies.
- Protect and restore critical land and water resources.
- Promote sustainable development, timely maintenance of old infrastructure, and the protection of priority water resources through refinements to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
- Develop clear guidance and planning materials (including the Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit) to help municipalities, developers and consultants advance development that reduces negative impacts on the environment.
- Take advantage of cooperation within state government to advance more effective planning with Mass Highways and other development agencies.
Information and Resources
- Massachusetts Water Conservation Standards file size 1MB
- Massachusetts Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit
- State Revolving Fund (MassDEP)
This information is provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Office of Water Policy