Massachusetts Announces Final Sustainable Water Management Initiative

Today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI).  SWMI was created in 2010 by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and included a wide range of stakeholders and support from the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The new SWMI plan was launched to better protect the Commonwealth’s water resources by encouraging prudent use of water to balance the need for water consumption and increased economic development with the ecological health of the water body.
The SWMI Framework includes:
• Biological Categories:  a categorization of the current condition of Massachusetts’ sub-basins as affected by certain human alterations.
• Safe Yield:  an element of MassDEP Water Management Act permitting that limits the amount of water that can be withdrawn during drought conditions includes an environmental protection factor, and is linked to streamflow criteria.
• Science-based Streamflow Criteria: permitting criteria that protect ecological uses of our waterways and fish and wildlife by specifying flow alteration goals and corresponding mitigation requirements when water withdrawals conflict with these goals.
• Clear permitting pathway: Permitting categories, or “Tiers,” that describe proposed requirements associated with seeking a water withdrawal permit and generally require mitigation commensurate with impact if the withdrawal amount is significantly increased, or minimization if it occurs in an impaired basin. 
 
For more information, visit the project online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/swm.
Or, view the full press release.