Our Mission, Legal Status and Accountability
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
MWRA's mission is to provide reliable, cost-effective, high-quality water and sewer services that protect public health, promote environmental stewardship, maintain customer confidence, and support a prosperous economy.
MWRA is a Massachusetts public authority established by an enabling act enacted in 1984. The enabling act is Chapter 372 of the Acts of 1984.
MWRA Enabling Act: pdf | html
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MWRA is an independent authority that provides wholesale water and sewer services
to its customer communities, and funds its operations primarily through
user assessments and charges. MWRA was created by the legislature in 1984
and inherited operations and facilities beginning in 1985 from the Metropolitan
District Commission, a century-old department of state government.
MWRA's 5-Year Progress Report (PDF)
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MWRA's long-term business plan emphasizes improvements in service and systems and includes aggressive performance targets for operating the water and wastewater systems and maintaining new and existing facilities.
Parallel to MWRA's goal of carrying out its capital projects and operating programs is its goal of limiting rate increases to its customer communities. The need to achieve and maintain a balance between these two goals is a critical issue facing MWRA and is reflected each year in its proposed budget.
MWRA's Business Plan 2016-2020
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Board of Directors
Eight of the 11 members of MWRA Board of Directors are directly
or indirectly apppointed by the 61 customer communities. Three members
are appointed by the Governor.
The MWRA Advisory Board, which elects three members of the Board of Directors,
is made up of a representative from each customer community. By statute,
the Advisory Board reviews and comments on all MWRAs operating and
MWRA customer communities participate in the Advisory
Board process and evaluate MWRAs performance every day as MWRA
and local officials work together to assure smooth operation of water
and sewer services. The City of Boston has three representatives on the
Board of Directors while the City of Quincy and the Town of Winthrop each
Legislature and Governor
MWRA ratepayers help to elect 79 state representatives and 27 state senators
who, especially through the MWRA Caucus, continually track MWRA and its
project performance. The Governor oversees MWRAs activities through
three appointments to the Board of Directors.
State and Federal Agencies
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department
of Environmental Protection approve project plans and issue permits for
MWRAs facilities. EPA and DEP also directly audit hundreds of millions
of dollars of MWRA project spending.
The neighbors literally watch MWRA's work from their windows and enforce
the terms of project mitigation agreements, which often incorporate legal
requirements under MEPA or other laws.
MWRA reports to the federal court overseeing MWRAs efforts to end years of sewer system non-compliance
with the federal Clean Water Act.
Wall Street rating agencies and institutional bondholders track MWRAs
finances and project performance for schedule and cost.
Citizen Advisory Committees, environmental groups and many members of
the public at large watch and scrutinize MWRAs activities and construction
projects at every step. For example, the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory
Panel is an independent group of 13 scientists appointed by EPA and DEP
to review all scientific and technical matters related to the MWRAs
wastewater outfall in Massachusetts Bay. Neighbors to MWRA construction
projects help enforce the terms of project mitigation agreements. MWRA
provides project information via newsletters and a website.
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July 9, 2015
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