Daily News

Legislation to Compensate Quabbin Communities for Reservoir Water to Be Heard April 26

BOSTON — The Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on “An Act Relative to the Quabbin Watershed and Regional Equity” (H.897/S.447), filed by state Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Aaron Saunders, on Wednesday, April 26, beginning at 1 p.m.

Beginning around 1927, four towns (Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott) were disincorporated, evacuated, and then flooded to create one of the largest potable water sources in the U.S., known as the Quabbin Reservoir. Today, the Quabbin provides pristine drinking water to millions of people in Eastern Mass.

Under current law, the remaining communities surrounding the Quabbin (Belchertown, Hardwick, Pelham, New Salem, Petersham, Shutesbury, and Ware), which comprise the Quabbin watershed, receive minimal compensation for their efforts and sacrifice. These same communities do not have the ability to pull their own drinking water from the Quabbin.

The legislation seeks greater regional equity and provides for reasonable payments to Quabbin watershed communities for local municipal needs; water infrastructure, such as conduits, pipes, and hydrants; and nonprofit organizations providing health, welfare, safety, and transit services. The bill also requires more representation of Connecticut River Valley interests on a governing board.

The hearing will be held in person in Massachusetts State House Hearing Room A-2 and also livestreamed on the Legislature’s website; click here for the virtual link.

Members of the public who wish to provide oral testimony on April 26 should fill out a form by clicking here. Members of the public are also welcome to email written testimony to the committee at [email protected].