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Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants for Water Management and Conservation Projects 

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced it has awarded more than $420,000 in grants to help 13 communities with water system interconnection and water mitigation projects across the Commonwealth. The funding will aid the City of Leominster, the Towns of Auburn, Avon, Hadley, Littleton and Westford, and a consortium of seven Ipswich River Basin communities. The grants are part of the Water Management Act (WMA) Grant Program, an effort by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to maintain healthy rivers and streams and improve degraded water resources over time.

“The effects of climate change are impacting our environment and our local communities, making conservation and protection of our water resources vital to the well-being of cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants will help our local partners to implement projects that will protect water quality, mitigate the impacts of water withdrawal, and better prepare for Massachusetts’ future needs.”

“Local communities and water suppliers continue to be resilient as they provide important water resources to their customers, but they need help conserving and protecting our watersheds, underground aquifers and surface water resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is proud to assist them in their efforts to address the growing demand for safe and clean water.”

The WMA Grant Program, now in its ninth year, helps water suppliers by providing grants for watershed planning projects, demand management, and minimization and mitigation activities for water withdrawal impacts. Significantly, the program guides water management in the Commonwealth for both the long-term water needs of communities and the protection of the aquatic ecosystems.

“The Water Management Act program ensures that local communities have ample water to meet their health and safety needs, while carefully balancing the needs of the local environment,” said EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants will also leverage an additional $130,000 in project work, bringing the total expenditure to more than $550,000, increasing the positive environmental impact from these key local projects.”

“As we continue to experience the impacts of climate change on our natural resources, these grants provide practical help to local communities and water suppliers,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “This funding will support projects that help improve the ecological condition of local watersheds and reduce demands on local water systems well into the future.”

The following communities and water suppliers were awarded WMA funds:

Auburn Water District – $70,676

The grant will be used to conduct a rate study and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) integration for implementation of a proposed water interconnection with Worcester.

Town of Avon – $44,200

The grant will be used for meter reading hardware and software.

Town of Hadley – $69,950

The grant will be used for an alternative source study for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Warner Wells.

Town of Hamilton – $107,615

The grant will be used for regional evaluation to improve water supply resiliency within the Lower Ipswich River Watershed (involving Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Topsfield, Essex, the Salem-Beverly Water Board, and the Ipswich River Watershed Association).

City of Leominster – $80,832

The grant will be used for planning and preparation for a Leominster-Clinton-Sterling-Lancaster Regional Water Interconnection.

Towns of Westford and Littleton – $47,304

The grant will be used for the continuation of the Stonybrook Restoration Project.

“Achieving sustainable drinking water supplies while protecting endangered sources like the Ipswich River is a critical mission for our communities, and one where we cannot fail,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).“This grant for the Lower Ipswich Watershed is important not only for its direct impact, but also because it will support the larger efforts of the North Shore Water Resiliency Task force, which has been working effectively over the last several months to bring together stakeholders from across the region to build consensus around the action steps needed to protect the river and the aquifer while ensuring that communities have the  water they need now and in the future.”

“The Ipswich River is a treasure to our Commonwealth and lifeblood to our 4th Essex communities. Used for both recreation and drinking water, our communities’ livelihood depends on a healthy Ipswich River,” said State Representative Jamie Zahlaway Belsito (D-Topsfield). “The Water Management Act grant that the Town of Hamilton has received will help us navigate our path forward to improve water supply resiliency within the Lower Ipswich River Watershed (involving Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Topsfield, Essex, the Salem-Beverly Water Board and the Ipswich River Watershed Association). Congratulations to the Town of Hamilton for taking on this initiative.”

“I’m very excited that Hadley was awarded this grant,” said State Representative Daniel Carey (D-Easthampton). “Having these funds will assist with the alternative source study for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Warner Wells and what could be more important than clean drinking water. Thanks to EEA and MassDEP. I’m proud we are combining state dollars with local efforts in the community to maintain our healthy water resources.”

For more details on the WMA grant projects for 2021-2022, please visit MassDEP’s program webpage.

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.