General Laws

Section 3. The department and commission shall cooperate in the planning, establishment and management of programs to assess the uses of water in the commonwealth and to plan for future water needs.

The commission shall adopt principles, policies and guidelines necessary for the effective planning and management of water use and conservation in the commonwealth and for the administration of this chapter as necessary and proper to ensure an adequate volume and quality of water for all citizens of the commonwealth, both present and future. Such principles, policies and guidelines shall be designed to protect the natural environment of the water in the commonwealth; to assure comprehensive and systematic planning and management of water withdrawals and use in the commonwealth, recognizing that water is both finite and renewable; and to allow continued and sustainable economic growth throughout the commonwealth and increase the social and economic well being and safety of the commonwealth’s citizens and of its work force.

There is hereby established within the department a water resources management advisory committee to provide advice and consultation to the department concerning matters covered by this chapter. The committee shall review the development of standards, rules and regulations for water resources management and shall supply recommendations concerning methods by which existing water management practices and the laws regulating them may be supplemented and improved and their administration financed.

The committee shall consist of at least eleven members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be representative of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, one of whom shall be a representative of a watershed association, one of whom shall be a representative of the water works industry, one of whom shall be a representative of an agricultural association, one of whom shall be a representative of a consumer organization, one of whom shall be a representative of an environmental organization, one of whom shall be a representative of a water well driller association, one of whom shall be a representative from a regional planning agency, and two of whom shall be representatives of the public knowledgeable in environmental and water management affairs. The members of the committee shall have no financial interest in any recommendation or studies of the committee.

Said members shall serve without compensation and shall be eligible for reappointment. In making initial appointments to said committee, the governor shall appoint two members for terms of one year, three members for terms of two years, three members for terms of three years, and three members for terms of four years. Upon the expiration of the term of any such member, his successor shall be appointed for a term of four years. Persons appointed to fill vacancies shall serve for the unexpired term of said vacancy.

Pursuant to chapter thirty A, the department, after consultation with the advisory committee and with the approval of the commission, shall adopt such regulations as it deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, establishing a mechanism for managing ground and surface water in the commonwealth as a single hydrological system and ensuring, where necessary, a balance among competing water withdrawals and uses. Within one year of the effective date of this chapter, the department shall adopt, and thereafter from time to time may amend, regulations establishing procedures and forms for filing notifications and registration statements; reasonable registration fees; a mechanism to control water in the commonwealth during water supply and water quality emergencies, and a program for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and the regulations adopted thereunder. Within two years of the effective date of this chapter, the department shall adopt, and thereafter from time to time may amend, regulations establishing criteria, standards and procedures for issuing permits, requirements for the content and form of permit applications, reasonable permit application fees, and requirements for monitoring, inspection and reporting of water withdrawals and usage by permitted water users’. The decision to approve or deny a permit shall take place after compliance, where applicable, with section sixty-one to sixty-two H, inclusive of chapter thirty, and sections eight B to eight D, inclusive of chapter twenty-one. All regulations adopted by the department pursuant to this chapter shall conform to, and implement, the principles, policies and guidelines established by the commission under this section.