Modern water systems: Not just a pipe dream for MA

Today is World Water Day, a day to appreciate the importance of freshwater, and focus our attention on sustainable ways for preserving this precious resource.

In MAPC’s little corner of the wider world of water, we are involved in many projects that support these goals, and are currently gearing up to take a lead role in a new outreach effort in Massachusetts–building support and awareness around the need to finance improvements to our water infrastructure throughout the state.

Many of our water systems in Massachusetts were built in the early 20th century and are in need of updating. Photo courtesy of MWRA

Raising the cost of anything is never terribly popular, but in the case of water infrastructure in this state, it simply can’t be avoided. We need to help the general public understand both the dire need to update our old and decaying systems, and to be more aware of how our public water systems enable us to be healthy  happy, and prosperous.

The cost of water as long been undervalued and under-priced in comparison to the importance it holds. Making sure that we always have clean drinking water that is free from harmful chemicals and pollutants is probably the most obvious advantage to improving our water systems–who can forget the panic/disruption that was felt throughout our region in 2010, when a pipe leak forced a “boil water” order for days? Sometimes it takes a scare like that one to realize how reliant we are on a well-functioning system that brings readily-available drinking water to our homes. Improving our water systems also helps to protect our environment–helping to reduce groundwater runoff, protect floodzones, and maintain wildlife habitats.

Another factor influenced by our water infrastructure is our economy. The ability of commercial and residential development to take place in some areas often hinges on an accessible water supply. We are “leaving money on the table” when cities and towns have to turn down development opportunities because of a lack of such resources.

In the coming months, MAPC will be looking at opportunities for helping to spread the word about the importance of taking action and raising necessary funds that are needed to bring our water infrastructure up to date. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities by emailing Senior Environmental Planner Julie Conroy at