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Southcoast towns may face water use restrictions in the future


An article by Ariel Wittenberg in last week's Standard Times touched on the impending water use restrictions that may be put in place by 2015 for Towns that get their water supply from the Mattapoisett River Valley. These towns include Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester, which all draw from this aquifer.

The existing system for some of the municipalities is that when the Mattapoisett River flows below a certain level, the municipalites enact a water use restriction until the water levels rise past that certain threshold. In the future, however there may be annual water use restrictions enacted in the springtime through until the fall.

The MA Department of Environmental Protection is expected to review its water-use permits for the Towns abutting Buzzards Bay in 2015.  The participating towns have formed the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee, which is exploring its options for annual water restrictions.

The DEP's goal is to implement water conservation measures that will balance the need for drinking water with the protection of the ecosystem in the area. In an area of the state where these restrictions historically haven't taken place, it may take some adjustments, but, it appears the Advisory committee is preparing for any potential changes so they can deal with it in stride.

Information from this post taken fro mteh January 21 article titled "Towns brace for potential 2015 water restrictions" by Ariel Wittenberg in the Standard Times.

For information about municipal water supplies, please contact Mark S. Bartlett, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 131. Or for more information about adjusting to municipal watering restrictions through rainwater re-use systems, please see our blog articles about Rainwater Harvesting

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Report preaches the potentials for Rainwater Re-use


 THe National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) just issued a report titled "Capturing Rainwater from Rooftops" highlighting the potential for rainwater re-use or rainwater harvesting as its sometimes referred to for complementing municipal water supply needs.

The NRDC analyzed the total volume of rooftop rainwater potentially available for capture and use (based on rooftop area and average annual rainfall) in eight U.S. cities, as well as the volume of water potentially available for use under various capture, storage and usage scenarios.  The result of the analyses showed that the volume of rooftop runoff, if it were to be completely captured, would be enough to meet the annual water supply needs of between 21 percent and 75 percent of each city’s population.

NRDC’s study shows that a substantial opportunity exists to use rooftop rainwater capture as an efficient, effective water resource management approach.
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There are several factors that could affect the use  and benefit of re-using rooftop runoff (local regulations, existing infrastructure, etc.) however this study shows the potential is there, and rainwater harvesting represents a valuable tool municipalities, developers, property managers and homeowners can use to meet their water supply needs.

To read the entire report from the NRDC please click this link.

For questions or more information about Rainwater re-use, please contact John B. McAllister, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 117.

EPA’s new strategy to encourage cities to use green infrastructure


The EPA wants cities and towns to address a new strategy to improve water quality in the US by reducing stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff pollutes the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, creeks and coastal waters, degrades the aquatic habitats and causes downstream flooding. This new strategy aims at promoting use of green infrastructure for environmental and economic benefits: green infrastructure is a cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to wet weather management. Using green infrastructure can be useful to mitigate overflows from combined and separate sewers, and to reduce stormwater pollution by encouraging implementation in cities and municipal programs.

How does green infrastructure work?

  • It treats rain when it falls, captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site.
  • Stormwater is reused to maintain or restore natural hydrologies.
  • It keeps polluting stormwater from entering sewer systems: by increasing the amount of pervious ground cover, green infrastructure techniques increase stormwater infiltration rates, thereby reducing the volume of runoff entering our combined or separate sewer systems, and ultimately the lakes, rivers, and streams.

Some tools used are green roofs, permeable materials, subsurface infiltration, raingardens and  rain harvesting systems for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation, porous pavement, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes.

How does green infrastructure benefit the environment?

Green infrastructure can produce environmental, economic, and human health benefits. The benefits of green infrastructure are particularly accentuated in urban and suburban areas where green space is limited and environmental damage is more extensive. Green infrastructure benefits include:

  • A decrease in water pollution by a decrease in stormwater runoff volumes
  • It improves Human Health : an increasing number of studies suggest that vegetation and green space (two key components of green infrastructure) can have a positive impact on human health.
  • It increases economic activity by creating jobs, and neighborhood revitalization
  • It induces energy savings with reductions in heating and cooling costs. For example, green roofs reduce a building’s energy costs by 10 to 15%.
  • It preserves and restores natural landscape features (forests, wetlands)
  • It enhances groundwater recharge - The natural infiltration capabilities of green infrastructure technologies can improve the rate at which groundwater aquifers are 'recharged' or replenished. This is significant because groundwater provides about 40% of the water needed to maintain normal base flow rates in our rivers and streams. Enhanced groundwater recharge can also boost the supply of drinking water for private and public uses.
  • It reduces sewer overflow events 
  • It improves air quality - Green infrastructure facilitates the incorporation of trees and vegetation in urban landscapes, which can contribute to improved air quality
  • It creates additional wildlife habitat and recreational space - Greenways, parks, urban forests, wetlands, and vegetated swales are all forms of green infrastructure that provide increased access to recreational space and wildlife habitat.
  • It increases land value - A number of case studies suggest that green infrastructure can increase surrounding property values

EPA will develop the use of green infrastructure in ten cities in the US by collaborating actively with local governments, groups, watershed, tribes. These cities are going to be highlighted as models for other cities. Boston is one of those cities. The goal of EPA is to spread the use of green infrastructure across the US to control stormwater.

Learn about Norfolk Ram's stormwater management services here.

If you have any questions about green infrastructure, please contact John McAllister at or at (508) 747 - 7900 x 117.

Download our FREE Raingarden information.

Information in this article is taken from EPA new release April, 29 2011, by Enesta Jones and Richard Yost.

For more information about this strategy, you can also download the Strategic Agenda to protect waters and build more livable communities through green infrastructure, that EPA released in 2009 about this subject, here :


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