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Action Alert! Speak Up for Streamflow!

Want to protect your water supply during drought? Ensure wildlife habitat? Maintain your favorite swimming hole? Take 5 minutes to send one email in support of the Drought Bill!

1. Find your legislators

2. Copy + paste their email addresses

For example, It'll look like this:

3. Send them an email

  1. Subject Line (or add your own flair!): Please support H.861/S.475 for stronger drought preparedness

  2. Write your name, town, and any affiliations.

  3. Copy and paste this message - add what climate impacts you've been seeing locally, or why your local river matters to you.

H.861/S.475 has just been reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. It is now in Ways & Means.

This climate preparedness bill is a top priority for me and my community. It will protect our rivers, water supply, and wildlife from the harmful effects of drought. Massachusetts continues to experience climate extremes: the record precipitation of 2023 was preceded by the record droughts of 2022 (and 2020, and 2016). We need to scale up our response to extreme weather, and this bill is one way of doing so.

Please support this bill with your colleagues in Ways & Means so it can pass this session.

Thank you for protecting the Commonwealth's environment.

Background on the bill:

When a drought is declared in Massachusetts, many towns implement outdoor watering restrictions. However, municipal restrictions vary, even within a single watershed, and are not always enforced. This means that overall water savings is limited, and our rivers and ecosystems lose valuable water to lawn sprinklers in their time of greatest need.

Under this current system, the Governor can only impose more uniform watering restrictions when we're in a full-on drought emergency. Why wait for an emergency to unfold when we could prevent such an event from occurring in the first place?

H.861/S.475 known as "the drought bill," offers a solution by empowering the EEA Secretary to require uniform water conservation standards across a drought region for all water users. These requirements would apply to ONLY non-essential outdoor watering - that's primarily lawn watering. Water used in your kitchen, bathroom, backyard vegetable garden, as well as agriculture, would be exempt.

The water conservation requirements, as well as the drought regions, are laid in out in the state's 2019 Drought Management Plan, created by a team of state and federal scientists and experts. This plan however is only a recommendation. H.861/S.475 would put the plan's expertise to work on the ground.

This bill is sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Joan Meschino, and currently sits before the Senate Committee on Ways & Means and the House Committee on Ways & Means. It's Mass Rivers' top priority this session, part of our multi-prong approach to approving water conservation in Massachusetts.

Thank you to all who have helped move the bill this far - we need your help for the end of this legislative session!

Contact Policy Director Katharine Lange with questions or to talk more about the bill:

A totally dry Weir River in Hingham, 2016

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