Water Resources Protection Task Force

Background

While the Town presently is blessed with adequate supplies of drinking water, Manchester presently lacks a long-term strategy for maintaining that quantity and quality over the next 50 years. Given the heightened risks from climate change and the significant levels of PFAs reported in nearby municipal water supplies, it is time to address this lack.

Complicating this situation, no single Board or Commission or Department has responsibility for long-term quantity and quality of our drinking water. DPW focuses on operation and maintenance of water infrastructure, BOH on toxic waste controls, and Select Board on setting rates for water usage.

Manchester commissioned a comprehensive study in 1989 by Horsley Witten Hegemann which was reported in June 1990 as the “Water Resources Protection Plan.” This document set up baselines for Manchester’s long-term drinking water strategy and offered more than 60 pages of specific recommendations involving zoning, health regulations, wetlands, watersheds, reservoirs and wells. These remain very relevant as a starting point for work today.

About the Water Resources Protection Task Force

The Select Board commissioned this Task Force in December 2021.  Its overall objective is to define a vision for Manchester’s drinking water quantity and quality over the next five decades and to recommend how the Town should mobilize to get there.

The Select Board expects four specific deliverables from the Task Force: 

  1. Updates on the problems and opportunities identified in the 1990 Report (incorporating issues of climate change and new contaminants, e.g.), 
  2. Priorities for action by the Town among those problems and opportunities, 
  3. Specific next steps including changes in Bylaws and Regulations, expenditures, organizational change, and more-detailed study, 
  4. Alternatives for assigning responsibility and accountability (including what metrics to use).

This Task Force will be Phase 1 of a process of design and implementation that will insure the long-term quantity and quality of Manchester’s drinking water.  The next phase will need to focus on implementation and accountability.

The Task Force will work for a limited time (not > 18 months) under the auspices of the Conservation Commission.

The Town has provided staff support for Task Force: Sue Croft (Special Projects/Grants Coordinator).

Members

  • Chair & Conservation Commission – Steve Gang
  • Select Board – John Round (alternate Ann Harrison)
  • Planning Board – Ron Mastrogiacomo (alternate Sarah Creighton)
  • Board of Health – Peter Colarusso
  • Conservation Commission – Ashley Ochs and David Lumsden
  • Stream Team – Jessica Lamothe (alternate Francie Caudill)
  • Open Space and Recreation Committee – Helen Bethell (alternate – Olga Hayes)
  • At Large Members: Mike Carvalho, Jeff Cochand, Tom Kehoe, Ron Parker, Gordon Turner

Interested in becoming a task force member or short-term fact-finding volunteer?  Please submit a volunteer application (Click Here for Volunteer Application) or submit a letter of interest to the Selectboard.

Questions? Email Sue Croft at CroftS@manchester.ma.us

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