New England’s current patchwork of laws and policies is incapable of managing our water resources to prevent dry riverbeds. The New England states have been slow to respond to water scarcity and the region’s rapidly changing pattern of water use. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has publicly acknowledged that the state’s existing legal, planning and institutional mechanisms are incapable of addressing long-term water allocation problems or protecting the state’s streams. Approximately 87% of all water use in Connecticut is exempt from any kind of environmental review.
As the table below demonstrates, the New England states vary significantly in their respective policy responses to the growing challenge of water withdrawals.