WESTBOROUGH – State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and State Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) addressed the 495/MetroWest Partnership today to discuss the ongoing work of the recently-established Water Infrastructure Finance Commission (WIFC), and the importance of that Commission’s work for economic development in the region. The 495 Partnership’s Water Resources Committee, whose members included municipal leaders, planners, business representatives and environmental advocates, advocated for the creation of the WIFC.
In recent months, the front pages have been covered with stories highlighting the importance of public investment in water infrastructure across the Commonwealth. Burst or leaking pipes, water contamination, inadequate treatment, and flood waters can be major inconveniences to the public and local businesses — and sometimes can lead to tragic outcomes. The Water Infrastructure Finance Commission is working to prevent these problems in the first place by developing a comprehensive, long range water infrastructure finance plan for the Commonwealth and its municipalities.
“Clean water, delivered by a strong and reliable water infrastructure system, is essential for fostering ongoing economic development in the Commonwealth,” said Eldridge, who chairs the WIFC. “Many companies rely on water to do their business, which makes a strong water infrastructure an important factor when deciding where to locate. The work of the WIFC will help ensure we have the reliable infrastructure we need to support economic growth and job creation, as well as protecting the quality of water and streams.”
“The diversity of interests in the room today, including engineers, environmentalists, planners and municipalities, speaks to the breadth of concern related to safeguarding our waters. We covered a lot of ground today and heard some good suggestions. The feedback will go a long way toward helping produce a report won’t sit on a shelf, but will truly provide a roadmap for funding water infrastructure and protecting our water resources,” said Dykema, the House appointee to the WIFC.
“Senator Eldridge and Representative Dykema have provided statewide leadership on the crucial issue of updating and addressing our water infrastructure needs. Thanks to their vision and commitment, the WIFC is a reality and should provide thoughtful and objective analysis and recommendations to address the pressing water infrastructure needs of the 495/MetroWest region and the Commonwealth,” said Paul Matthews, Executive Director of the 495 Partnership.
As part of the Commission’s work, they will hold a series of hearings across the state, including one at 10am on October 20th at the Forbes Municipal Building in Westborough. Local municipal officials, water department and water district officials, groups and agencies interested in water policy, environmental and consumer protection groups, professionals in the fields of water supply engineering and pricing, and other interested members of the public are invited to attend and give testimony.