In 1986 the Water Management Act required state authorities to set “safe yield” limits that specify how much water can be pumped from river basins (“A move to save water sources,” Page A1, Nov. 29). After a quarter-century of pumping so much water that rivers dry up, they are finally getting around to it.
Unfortunately, the proposed limits are far higher than current withdrawals that are already stressing many river basins — almost double the current withdrawals in the Charles River basin, more than triple those in the Concord River basin, and six times higher than in the Parker River basin. Taking that much water would certainly not be safe for fish, or for businesses that rely on recreation or tourism.
Withdrawal limits should protect all that depends on healthy, flowing rivers, while affording municipalities time to comply. At least that way we’d be moving in the right direction over the 20-year duration of the next round of municipal water withdrawal permits, instead of continuing to accommodate wasteful water use practices that degrade rivers, impair drinking water quality, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and drive up the cost of water for everyone.