Water Conservation Regulations

Climate Resilient Land Use Strategies_pano
Water Conservation Regulations

Water Conservation Regulations

Despite projections for increased rainfall and flooding, climate projections for Massachusetts also indicate an increased probability of drought. This reflects analysis that indicating that rainfall will likely increase in the winter and spring and decrease in the summer and fall. The decrease in rain, combined with earlier snow melt and higher temperatures that will increase evaporation and reduce soil moisture, account for the drought projections.

Drought can have significant impacts on water quantity and quality. Drinking water supply is a critical vulnerability, particularly for communities that are not served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Loss of water quantity can also have severe ecosystem effects, including low or no flow in stream, and damage to agriculture and forests. In the event that droughts deplete groundwater levels, coastal areas may experience saltwater intrusion in drinking water aquifers. Finally, drought may increase the likelihood of brushfires and forest fires.

This page provides short summaries of key features of regulations based on desktop review. Links to the regulations are provided below. Conduct careful review when considering adopting new language. The resources included do not constitute legal advice. Municipalities should consult legal counsel when adopting new bylaws, ordinances, and policies.

Did we miss something? Do you have regulations or policies that should be added to this website? Do you need assistance? For additions, corrections, or questions please contact Senior Environmental Planner Anne Herbst at aherbst@mapc.org.

Strategies to Regulate Water Conservation

Require Water Conservation
  • Danvers applies a fee equal to mitigating water demand at a 2:1 ratio. The requirement applies to all residential development of three units or more, and all commercial property that require a building permit or increase water demand. In addition, all faucets, shower heads, clothes and dish washing machines and toilets must be energy efficient and meet EPA water efficiency standards. In-ground irrigation systems must have a rain and moisture sensing device. Wenham (246) has similar requirements.
  • Weymouth requires all new water use applicants to provide water savings at a 2:1 ratio. Savings may be accomplished by retrofitting existing buildings.
  • Sharon Water Division Rules and Regulations (3.7.7) require installation of approved ultra-low toilets and washing machines for all new permits.
  • Natick requires water users estimate the “cost of installing, financing, maintaining and replacing a water use system including the cost savings in consumption of water by use of mitigating measures and alternative solutions including but not limited to ultra low flow devices, composting toilets, recycling and reuse systems, and use of non potable water.” The bylaw applies to all new commercial and industrial development, and to residential developments of four units or greater, and requires evidence of intent to utilize the strategies identified.
Expand Water Use Regulation