On October 8th, 2009, the Patrick Administration’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a major shift in their interpretation of the Massachusetts Water Management Act, resulting inadequate environmental considerations and a lack of protection for our rivers. The interpretation set standards at the bottom of the barrel and would have allowed our water resources to be depleted to drought conditions year-round. This decision came just before permit reviews allocating water withdrawal for the next 20 years.
After the Boston Globe put a spotlight on environmental groups resigning from a state advisory committee in protest, the Governor has called on agency leaders to re-evaluate the definition of ‘safe yield’, or how much water can legally be taken out of rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers. Environmental groups are now back at the table and working with the state agencies to develop standards for ensuring that our water resources are not being depleted at unsustainable rates.