This September 2017 edition of News and Notes highlights the Advisory Board’s brand new online retail rate calculator. The interactive online design allows the user to more directly compare rates between communities, as well as estimate rates in any water usage sc read more
Editorial by Executive Director Joe Favaloro
Following months of escalating rhetoric on both sides, it’s time to take a step back and assess what we need to do to move forward. If there is ever going to be a resolution to the off-trail activity debate, there needs to be a better understanding – on all sides – of all the impacts.
With this in mind, I strongly believe that any review of the Ware River Watershed public access plan must be preceded by a comprehensive study. The research, conducted by an independent third party, should investigate the issues in question: the impacts of unauthorized trail construction and off-trail activities.
The study should explore how these factors affect the core mission of DCR’s Division of Watershed Supply Protection and Office of Watershed Management, as well as how watershed stakeholders may be impacted, from all trail users, to MWRA customers, and even Ware River communities.
The study must look at the potential technical impacts, including water quality, forest management, and endangered species habitat.
Beyond the technical components, the study should dive into community impacts. What would be the enforcement and cost implications of changes to the access plan?
The study should also establish the context for this debate by examining the history of watershed development: how recreational uses were allowed, the court decision permitting the filtration waiver, and the regulatory and management impacts of this decision.
Finally, we see it as wise to “go beyond” our system and review how other filtered or unfiltered systems manage recreational activities.
This is just a rough outline. Once the study is completed, then an informed determination on the next steps could be made.
I would recommend to the MWRA that they share in the cost of this study with the State. I would further recommend that a representative of recreational activities have a seat on the working committee, along with DWSP, EOEEA, MWRA, and the Advisory Board. Together, their responsibility would be to flesh out the scope of the study and to evaluate the proposals, perhaps with varying perspectives, but equipped with the same facts. In return, I expect the public access rules to be respected and obeyed by all recreational users in the meanwhile.
Again, I stress that my job is to represent the interests of MWRA communities, and this means protecting our watersheds, ensuring our filtration waiver, and providing high quality drinking water to 2.5 million residents of Greater Boston.
I fully recognize that this issue is not limited to the most vocal debaters so far, but rather, affects many. In that spirit, the study ensures the most responsible path moving forward by providing all parties – myself included – with the knowledge to make the most educated decision possible. The stakes are enormous and allowing some fact-finding is the right next step.
This March 2017 edition of News and Notes describes Phase III of the Local Water System Assistance Program, which helps communities with 0% interest loans to make improvements to their local systems. read more
This installment of News and Notes for February 2017 celebrates the achievements of Mr. Walter Woods, who is three months away from his 99th birthday, and is retiring from the Advisory Board as the Wellesley representative. read more
Three months away from his 99th birthday, Walter Woods is retiring from the Advisory Board as the Wellesley representative. Walter has been an integral part of the Advisory Board from day one.
In fact, before day one, he served on the pre-Advisory Board Formation Committee to develop our by-laws, hire staff, and help with other endeavors. Over the next 32 years, Walter served as a member of our Executive Committee, holding at times the offices of Secretary, Chairman of Operations, and Chair of the Advisory Board.
While already impressive, this represents only a fraction of Walter’s career. He is an engineering graduate of MIT, worked as a structural engineer at NASA, designed jet fighters for Republic Aircraft, and served as Chief Mechanical and Engineering Officer for the MBTA. Furthermore, he was elected to the Wellesley Board of Public Works and served over 15 years, including four as Chairman.
In his “spare” time, Walter makes wine. Not only is this wine delicious, but it has also been awarded gold medals in numerous competitions. He is an avid gardener, and many have benefited from his expert tips.
MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey stated at our meeting, “Walter is a true gentleman and a dedicated public servant. Over the years, his sharp intellect and common sense approach have greatly contributed to the success of the MWRA Advisory Board, and in doing so, the success of the MWRA.”
AB Chairman Lou Taverna noted, “Walter has served with distinction and diligence. Our successes today are routed in the commitment of members such as Walter. He is irreplaceable.”
Thank you, Walter, for all that you have contributed.
Last week, the Advisory Board presented information from a UMass Boston Collins Center Report, identifying the crucial relationship between water and sewer infrastructure and potential economic growth. read more