Amherst lands grant to study watershed

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Thursday, February 08, 2018

AMHERST — Amherst is again getting money to determine ways to improve the watershed near the Atkins Reservoir, which provides one-third of the town’s usual daily water demand.

On Feb. 2, the Baker-Polito administration announced that Amherst will receive $66,816 for the Adams Brook watershed. The grant is part of $632,917 in money distributed for water management and conservation projects.

The money will assist 13 communities and water suppliers with water conservation, source and demand management, and other water withdrawal planning and mitigation projects across the state. Amherst is the lone western Massachusetts community to receive funding.

Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement that conservation and protection of the state’s water resources is vital to the well-being of cities and towns and long-term economic development.

“We look forward to assisting our local partners as these important projects are implemented to protect water quality, mitigate the impacts of water withdrawal, and prepare for future needs,” Baker said.

Two years ago, Amherst received $84,000 through the program that, together with $19,283 in town money, paid for a study of conditions at the reservoir, where the water is used for the town’s 3-million-gallon daily demand for water. The Adams Brook watershed, which is located on North East Street and extends into Shutesbury, where the reservoir is, was part of the study at that time.

The grants are part of the Water Management Act Grant Program, an effort by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to maintain healthy rivers and streams and improve degraded water resources over time.

The program is funded through the state’s five-year capital plan. and requires a 20 percent match from the communities involved.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.