Telegram & Gazette: Bill would help state manage water

Letter to the Editor
from Jamie Eldridge

I read with interest the recent As I See It by Jennifer A. Pederson, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association (“Stream-flow bill bad for state,” Telegram & Gazette, Sept. 4). I know the important work they do well, and have filed a number of bills on their behalf.

As with most good relationships, we don’t agree on everything. As the lead Senate sponsor for House 834, the Sustainable Water Resources Act, I’m writing to clear up some inaccuracies in Ms. Pederson’s article and explain why this bill is needed.

Many studies show that water levels in the commonwealth are threatened. Massachusetts gets 4 feet of rainfall annually, but we have rivers that run dry, and communities that face mandatory conservation measures most summers due to water shortages, impacting people, communities and the economy. This bill will give our regulatory agencies the tools they need to better manage water supplies for the common good.

Ms. Pederson’s article assumes that Connecticut’s experience can predict what will happen in Massachusetts, suggesting that the new rules will devastate “most of the urban areas of the state.”

I strongly disagree. There’s no reason the state can’t responsibly balance the interests of all parties, borrowing the best from other state regulations, learning from mistakes, and creating stream-flow standards that work.

With the right tools, we can do better in Massachusetts, ensuring that our water levels are appropriately managed to protect water quality for residents, water levels for business and recreational uses, and aquatic habitats for our wildlife.

JAMIE ELDRIDGE
State Senator
Middlesex and Worcester District

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