Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 532 of the acts of 1977 is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
The city known as the town of Methuen, in accordance with such conditions as may be set forth by the department of environmental quality engineering and the water resources commission, is hereby authorized to take, hold and convey into and through said municipality, from the Merrimack river at an approved point within said municipality, without liability to pay any compensation or other damages than the commonwealth itself would be legally liable to pay, sufficient water for the use of said municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and for bordering communities for the extinguishment of fires, domestic use, human consumption, irrigation, industrial, commercial and other purposes; and to also take and hold, by purchase or otherwise, land in said municipality 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 works 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.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 532 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 1 the following section:-
Section 1A. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections thirty-eight to forty-two, inclusive, of chapter forty of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, said town of Methuen, by and through its town manager, is hereby authorized to make contracts with its bordering communities both in the commonwealth and the state of New Hampshire for the sale of water as acquired pursuant to section one for such terms and upon such conditions as is deemed in the best interest of the said town by said town manager, in accordance with the charter of said town, and upon such conditions as may be set forth by the water resources commission; provided, however, that any additional costs assumed by said town or the commonwealth in the acquisition or distribution of such water shall be assumed and paid by the purchasing communities; and provided, further, that said town shall give priority to the water needs of bordering communities located within the commonwealth. The department of environmental quality engineering and the water resources commission shall annually approve or disapprove any acquisition of water supply between said town and the state of New Hampshire or any community thereof. For the purpose of this act the term "bordering communities" shall mean a community within five miles of said town, said distance being measured from the closest border limits of said community to the closest border limits of said town, which may include jurisdictions within the state of New Hampshire.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage.