Mayor Robert Hedlund is looking into getting Weymouth out of the municipal water business and, instead, getting the town’s water from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.
Weymouth already is part of the MWRA waste water system.
Hedlund said the MWRA has ample supply and is accepting new communities into the water system. For example, the MWRA approved adding Burlington and Ashland to the water system in 2020.
MWRA spokesman Sean Navin said staff members from the agency have met with Weymouth officials about the possibility of joining. “Those conversations are still in the early stages while the community explores its long-term water needs and if joining MWRA makes sense for the community,” he said.
The MWRA provides an average of 200 million gallons of water daily to consumers in 53 communities. The water comes primarily from Quabbin Reservoir, about 65 miles west of Boston, and the smaller Wachusett Reservoir northeast of Worcester. The Quabbin alone can hold a five-year supply of water, and demand has been well below what is available even during drought years, according to documents on the agency webpage.
Weymouth has its own municipal water system that serves about 54,000 people. The water comes primarily from Great Pond; switching to the regional water system would allow the town to restore the pond and use it for recreation such as boating and swimming, and would improve the herring run in town, Hedlund said. Whitman’s Pond, which acts as a backup source of water, also would benefit, he said.
Joining the MWRA also would relieve any concerns about drought and failing water supplies, he said.
“We are in better shape than a lot of our neighbors, but everyone south of us has supply issues and that could become an issue,” he said. “There also is the issue of quality: the quality of our water is nowhere near what MWRA water is.”
“There are lots of benefits; we are looking at the cost,” Hedlund said.
He said the town has federal COVID-19 relief money that could be used for building the infrastructure needed to bring MWRA water to Weymouth, and that state aid also may be available.
“The concern is a firm idea of what the actual water rates will be because the MWRA rates are a little less competitive than ours, and we [would be] at the mercy of the MWRA rate structure,” Hedlund said. “You can’t predict rates even with a system you own, but we would have even less control.”
Hedlund said the town is coordinating with the developer at Union Point, which is trying to get access to MWRA water to accommodate commercial development at the site of the former Weymouth Naval Air Station.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.