Urban Fold

Water Needs Limit Growth

Formerly small towns near Boston have experienced high growth rates in recent years. But despite their potential to keep growing, water supplies and aging infrastructure will likely be a limiting factor.

"The region is expected to continue attracting more companies, workers, and residents in the coming years. But that growth is also projected to slam up against water-related limits unless supplies are conserved or increased, said officials. The problem is already in sight, some say."

"In the region stretching along I-495 from Littleton to Wrentham, demand on public water systems is expected to rise from 51 million gallons a day in 2005, the latest numbers available, to 62 million in 2030, according to a recent study published by the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Steady growth for the I-495 region is driving demand, the study said."

"Municipal water systems won't be able to keep up if they don't evolve, according to Paul Matthews, executive director of the 495/MetroWest business group. 'Those towns over 20 years ago were either rural or much smaller,' he said. 'Now a lot of them are bumping up against their infrastructure.'"

"Of the 32 towns in the study, nine experienced median water-usage increases of 10 percent over the past decade. Seventeen towns in the study decreased their water usage by a similar percentage, often because they conserved to stay within state limits while handling increased demand. In six towns, figures were unavailable because residents use private wells."

Full Story: High and dry

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