- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants for Water Management and Conservation
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded seven grants totaling $632,917 to help 13 communities and water suppliers with water conservation, source and demand management, and other water withdrawal planning and mitigation projects across the Commonwealth. The funding will be utilized in the communities of Amherst, Auburn, Bourne, Danvers, Dedham, Groton, Holden, Kingston, Lincoln, Littleton, Wareham, Westford and Westwood.
“Conservation and protection of our water resources is vital to the well-being of our communities and long-term economic development across Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to assisting our local partners as these important projects are implemented to protect water quality, mitigate the impacts of water withdrawal, and prepare for future needs.”
“The grants awarded today will help communities across the Commonwealth promote water conservation and protect our watersheds, underground water supply aquifers and surface water resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is proud to assist local water suppliers and our community partners in their efforts to provide clean and sustainable water for today and for many years to come.”
The grants are part of the Water Management Act (WMA) Grant Program, an effort by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to maintain healthy rivers and streams and improve degraded water resources over time. The WMA Grant Program helps water suppliers by providing grants for watershed planning projects, demand management, minimization, and mitigation activities for water withdrawal impacts.
“Reducing the strain on our natural resources continues to be one of our top environmental priorities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “It is critical for the health of our natural infrastructure and fiscal economy to conserve water, especially in our most-stressed watersheds, and these grants help local officials plan for and manage future demand.”
“Some of the most important water sustainability efforts occur locally, as officials work to protect their streams, aquifers and critical habitats,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “This funding is awarded directly to local communities to help them improve the ecological condition of their waterways and watersheds.”
The following grants were awarded:
Town of Amherst: Adams Brook Watershed – $66,816.
Auburn Water District: Permanent Interconnection with Worcester/Design and Permitting – $105,900.
Town of Danvers: Data Collection and Planning in the Ipswich Watershed – $160,790.
Dedham/Westwood Water District: Dropcounter Public Portal Expansion – $30,350.
Town of Groton (in conjunction with the Holden Water Department, Kingston Water Department, Lincoln Water Department, and the North Sagamore Water District in Bourne): Water Rate Studies – $108,650.
Wareham Fire District: Billing Changes and Automatic Meter Reading – $58,800.
Towns of Westford and Littleton: Stony Brook Flow Restoration Project – $101,611.
“Our communities deserve updated, efficient meter reading for proper water management,” said State Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “This advanced water infrastructure will reduce operating expenses and save ratepayers money. I commend the Wareham Fire District for their hard work in securing these funds and looking towards the future.”
“Communities in the Commonwealth and around the world already feel the impacts of climate change on their water supplies,” said State Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). “These grants to Groton and Westford represent small, but meaningful steps to ensure that our residents will continue to have access to this vital resource.”
“I was happy to work with Rep. Jim Arciero to advocate for this grant for Littleton, which will boost Littleton's already impressive water conservation efforts,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, especially Environmental Secretary Matt Beaton and DEP Commissioner Marty Suuberg, for their commitment to water conservation in our communities.”
“The Ipswich River Watershed is a vital resource for communities across the North Shore,” said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “Funding to ensure proper data collection and planning along the watershed will better safeguard the health and resilience of the Ipswich River during times of severe water withdrawal and drought. I am grateful to the Administration for recognizing the importance of our drinking water supply here in the Commonwealth.”
“Proper management and conservation of water resources is clearly a priority for the Auburn community,” said State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “I applaud the town’s efforts to pursue this interconnection, which will encourage further conservation and responsible distribution of our most precious natural resource. I look forward to offering my continued support to bring this important infrastructure project to fruition.”
“I appreciate the Baker-Polito Administration including the Auburn Water District for this funding,” said State Representative Paul K. Frost (R-Auburn). “Water is the most crucial and necessary resource we have and this funding will continue to help the Auburn Water District carry out its mission to provide clean drinking water to the residents and businesses in Auburn.”
“I am very pleased that Danvers and my district was awarded, by far, the largest grant given by the Commonwealth to compile the necessary data for local and state officials to better manage our water resources on the North Shore,” said State Representative Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers).
The WMA Grant Program is funded through the Massachusetts Five-Year Capital Plan. The grant program requires a 20 percent match from the communities involved, so that the grants will leverage an additional $204,000 in project work, bringing the total expenditure for the seven projects to more than $837,000.
Additional details on the WMA grant projects for 2018, or on the Sustainable Water Management Initiative framework and water withdrawals under the Water Management Act, can be found here.