Evolution of water supply mechanisms to reflect changing values: a case study of the Massachusetts water management program

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Virginia Tech


Industrialization and urbanization have brought about localized demand and regional competition for water resources in parts of the eastern United States. Thus, some states have faced critical decisions concerning how to best manage their available water supplies. As fundamental public values have changed over time, public opinion concerning the way in which water supplies should be managed has changed as well, especially in recent years. Consequently, many eastern states have restructured the institutional mechanisms governing water supply management to reflect those changing values and opinions.

Massachusetts is a prime example of a state where changes in publicly held values have caused a thorough restructuring of the institutional mechanisms governing water supply management. A case study examines developments that led to the current institutional mechanisms in Massachusetts. Special attention is given to the issues and values that shaped the State’s water supply policy, legislation, and regulatory programs.