Section 17: State of water emergency; orders
Section 17. During a state of water emergency declared under section fifteen, the department, to the extent not in conflict with applicable federal law or regulation but notwithstanding any general or special law, local law or contractual agreement to the contrary, shall be empowered to issue orders, applicable within or outside the area in which a water emergency exists to:--
(1) Establish priorities for the distribution of any water or quantity of water use;
(2) Permit any person engaged in the operation of a water supply system to reduce or increase by a specified amount or to cease the distribution of that water; to distribute a specified amount of water to certain users as specified by the department; or to share any water with other water supply systems;
(3) Direct any person to reduce, by a specified volume, the withdrawal or use of any water; or to cease the withdrawal or use of any water;
(4) Require the implementation of specific water conservation measures; and
(5) Mandate the denial, for the duration of the state of water emergency, of all applications for withdrawal permits within the areas of the commonwealth to which the state of water emergency applies.
The commission shall adopt guidelines for use by the department in issuing orders under this section.
The department shall consult with the appropriate executive agency overseeing the activities of any person affected by this section.