ALLOW CITIES AND TOWN TO IMPOSE WATER FEES

By Bob Katzen

The Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government held a virtual hearing on legislation that would allow cities, towns and water or wastewater districts to impose “reasonable” fees that would be used only to remedy/offset impacts that water withdrawals and discharges have on the natural environment.

Supporters said that “water banking” at the local level has proven to be an effective tool for mitigating the impacts of water withdrawals on both the natural environment and local and regional water infrastructure systems.

“In response to administrative consent orders and increasingly stringent regulatory mandates, communities are being encouraged to establish water banks or mitigation funds,” said sponsor Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “These funds are needed to design and construct water, sewer and stormwater improvements that are required to mitigate environmental impacts directly attributed to new or increased demands placed on these essential services.”

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