Easton Focuses on Water Conservation in 2011
The town of Easton received a $42,000 water conservation grant from the state.
It didn't take long for the town of Easton to develop some environment-friendly initiatives to kick off the New Year, with a series of projects aimed at conserving water in town buildings and educating Easton residents on water conservation.
The funds for Easton's initiatives will come from a $42,000 grant received from the state aimed at preserving drinking water supplies. Overall, the state dished out $850,000 to 25 different communities in Massachusetts.
"Water conservation reduces the demand on our natural resources and protects them from overuse," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. in a statement Tuesday. "These grants will assist communities in their efforts to protect water supplies and help sustain these vital resources."
For Easton, the Department of Public Works plans to use the funding in three different areas. The department will look to conduct a water rate study in town, fund the retrofitting of water-conservation features in town buildings, and provide Easton's children and residents with water-conservation education.
DPW Director Wayne Southworth said a water rate study was overdue in town.
"We haven't had a water rate increase in a few years," he said. "We need to have a study done to take a look at that to see if we have some adjustments in the rates."
However, Southworth said a bulk of the funding will be used to reduce the town's environmental footprint. He said the DPW is interested in new, energy-saving technology in town buildings, such as water-less urinals.
"We wanted to fund the retrofitting of water conservation fixtures in the town buildings: the police, fire station, town office, and DPW," he said. "We're just looking to reduce, in house, the water that we use."
Southworth said the DPW's third initiative looks toward the future.
"Our third item is to provide us with additional educational materials for the schools for water conservation," he said. "Traditionally, we've always worked with the schools. We get involved with an annual poster contest and we have over 800 students in fourth and fifth grade that participate in that. We usually provide materials prior to the contest to give them ideas to stimulate them and so forth."
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, a town had to have an identified problem meeting water demand; A significant environmental concern that would benefit by a reduction in demand; A comprehensive strategy to conserve water; Water pricing policies that strongly encourage conservation; and Existing water loss prevention and water conservation programs.
Southworth said Easton applied for the grant last year. Other towns receiving money included Ashland; Bellingham; Brewster; Canton; Clinton; Concord; Dedham-Westwood Water District; Easton; Gardner; Georgetown; Gloucester; Lincoln; Lunenburg Water District; Medway; Norfolk; Northampton; Rutland; Salem; Spencer; Stoughton; Turner's Falls Water Department; Ware; West Springfield; Westminster; and Wilmington.
For Easton, Southworth said water conservation has always been a priority.
"We're always big on education as far as water conservation," he said. "A lot of that is just to educate the public."