Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The city of Haverhill, in accordance with such conditions as may be set forth by the department of environmental quality engineering and subject to the provisions of chapter twenty-one G of the General Laws, is hereby authorized to take, hold and convey into and through said city, from the Merrimack river at an approved point within said city, without liability to pay any compensation or other damages that the commonwealth itself would be legally liable to pay, sufficient water for the use of said city and the inhabitants thereof for the extinguishment of fires, domestic use, human consumption, irrigation, industrial, commercial and other purposes; provided, however, that no water supply source in said city has been abandoned unless said department has determined that such supply is not fit for drinking and cannot be economically restored, said city may also take and hold, by purchase or otherwise, land in said city for sinking wells or making excavations in order to obtain water by filtration or percolation, or from subterranean streams and to construct such works as may be necessary therefor; and to lay and maintain reservoirs or canals and such other work as may be deemed necessary or proper for conveying, raising, forcing, retaining, distributing, or disposing of said water in such a manner as may be deemed in the public interest.
The rights of the Essex Company, as granted by chapter one hundred and sixty-three of the acts of eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the rights of any successor to such company are hereby preserved insofar as these rights may be exercised in a manner reasonable and consistent with the public interest and the proper utilization of the Merrimack river as determined by the department of environmental quality engineering, provided that there shall be an adequate flowage of the river to supply the town of Merrimac and the city of Haverhill.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.