Updated June 24, 2022
Officials have declared a significant drought for Southeastern Massachusetts. There is no time to lose—the Massachusetts Legislature has the opportunity to empower the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to require nonessential outdoor watering restrictions across drought regions. This would replace the patchwork of drought responses among cities and towns and allow the state to be more proactive.
You may have seen our recent opinion article in the Boston Herald calling on the state legislature to enact S.530 (corresponding House bill is H.898), which would codify the 2019 recommendations of the Massachusetts Drought Management Taskforce. Essential water users would be exempted from water restrictions (e.g., agriculture, golf courses), but nonessential water uses would be curtailed across a watershed region. It’s a critical action—water doesn’t respect municipal boundaries, and the restricting water on a town-by-town basis just doesn’t effectively protect our water basins.
S.530 has been approved by the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, and now awaits approval by the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
We urge you to email or call both your own state senator, as well as members of the Committee to ask them to report the bill out favorably before the summer recess.
To make it easy, the Mass Rivers Alliance has come up with the following writing/talking points!
Dear Chair Rodrigues, Vice Chair Friedman, and Members of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means,
My name is ___________ and I am a resident of ___________. I am writing to request that you urge your colleagues in Senate Ways & Means to report S.530, An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management, favorably out of committee. This is a top priority for me and my community.
Climate change is bringing more frequent and severe droughts to Massachusetts, and our current management is falling short. The drought bill would give the State the authority to require water conservation during drought, implementing a more impactful regional approach to drought management. Scaling up our response will give our waterways and the people and wildlife that depend on them the best chance at a healthy future.
[Share your local challenges with low flow and drought.]
I hope you will encourage your colleagues in Senate Ways & Means to report this bill out favorably.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Who to send it to:
Copy and paste this list with the above email, and you’re ready to go! Don’t forget to include your own Senator. Don’t know who that is? Find them here!