Summer Drought in Full Swing - the Perfect Time to Pass the Drought Bill!


The most recent drought map, published mid June.


It's summer in New England! Sunny days full of ice cream trucks, beach days, and increasingly, drought. With a month left of the legislative session, it's the perfect time to enact stronger protections for our waterways during these dry events.


Right now most of our state is experiencing drought. Newburyport down to New Bedford is in "Significant Drought," while the Islands and our Central and Connecticut River Valley regions have entered "Mild Drought."


The Northeast Region jumped two levels this month - from normal conditions to "Significant Drought." According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, such a quick change is unprecedented, and indicative of flash drought conditions.


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!


Jump to a section:

How to email the Senate Ways & Means Committee

How to call the Senate Ways & Means Committee

Background on the Bill


How to email the Senate Ways & Means Committee:

  1. Copy and paste Chair Rodrigues and Vice Chair Friedman's email addresses: Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov Cindy.Friedman@masenate.gov

  2. CC your own Senator. Find your Senator and their email address >>

  3. Copy and paste this Subject Line (or add your own flair!) MA is in drought - please pass S.530!

  4. Copy and paste this message - but be sure to fill in your own details!

Dear Chair Rodrigues and Vice Chair Friedman,

Please report S.530 out favorably from committee. This bill is a top priority for me and my community. It will protect our rivers, water supply, and wildlife from harmful drought effects. Most of the state is in a "Mild" or "Significant" drought right now - there is no better time to strengthen water conservation.

Thank you for protecting the Commonwealth's environment.


How to call the Senate Ways & Means Committee:


Chair Rodrigues' office number is: (617) 722-1114.


When you call, a staff member will pickup (or it will go to voicemail). Say your name, your town, and that you would like the committee to advance the drought bill S.530, and that this is a top priority for you and your community. Then, you're free to share any drought stories or impacts you're seeing locally.


It's unlikely they'll ask you any questions. It'll be a quick call!


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?


S.530, known as "the drought bill," offers a solution by empowering the EEA Secretary to require uniform water conservation standards during a drought across a drought region for all water users. These requirements would apply to ONLY non-essential outdoor watering - that's primarily lawn watering. Your 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. S.530 would put the plan's expertise to work on the ground.


This bill is sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge and currently sits before the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. It's Mass Rivers' top priority this session, part of our multi-prong approach to approving water conservation in Massachusetts. Lean more about how drought impacts rivers >>




Thank you to all who have helped move the bill this far - we need your help for the home stretch!


Contact Policy Specialist Katharine Lange with questions, advocacy success stories, or talk more about the bill: katharinelange@massriversalliance.org

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