Massachusetts Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI)


What is the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI)?

MADEP is amending the Water Management Act to include new SWMI requirements for all permit holders. MADEP expects to finalize these revisions in the beginning of 2015. 

This initiative:

  • establishes a “safe yield” for each river basin in Massachusetts;  
  • determines each permit holder’s baseline water use, based upon their 2003-2005 withdrawals; and
  • establishes each sub-basin’s “biological categories” (based upon current impact) and “withdrawal categories” (based upon current withdrawals).


All permit holders are eligible for project funding: Deadline October 9, 2014

MADEP has proposed more than 1 million dollars of grants for 2014 permit holder mitigation studies and other SWMI related projects. MADEP is accepting proposals though Thursday, October 9, so now's the time to start planning your project!



When will my permit expire?

All Water Management Act permits will expire in the next few years and the renewal process begins 18 months prior to expiration. Click to download a printable MA River Basin Permitting Schedule and check to see when your basin's permit expires. Screen_Shot_2014-07-08_at_4.17.10_PM.jpg

Permit holder requirements

  • Implement water conservation and demand-management practices.
  • Minimize existing withdrawals from impacted sub-basins (even if you are not exceeding your baseline) and mitigate the impacts of any increased withdrawals.
  • If the sub-basin contains a cold water fishery, optimize withdrawals. 
  • If proposing withdrawal from an impacted sub-basin, you must demonstrate that no alternative is available.


How GeoInsight can help

GeoInsight has worked with Water Management Act staff in all MADEP regions for nearly 20 years and we can help permit holders negotiate MADEP requirements. GeoInsight can help with:

  • permit renewal applications;
  • minimization and optimization plans;
  • mitigation plans;
  • grant applications;
  • stormwater management;
  • MADEP negotiation support; and
  • low impact development (LID) strategies.



Have a question? Need assistance?

Get in touch with GeoInsight’s Massachusetts Water Supply expert, Dave Harwood, at 978.679.1600, or email him at