Plymouth is a coastal town located in the southeastern part of Massachusetts, United States.
Its population is around 61,000 people, and it has the largest land area of any town in Massachusetts. Plymouth’s water resources are very important to the town’s character and its future. Plymouth residents get 100% of their drinking water from the Plymouth-Carver aquifer, via public supply wells, private wells, or private water systems. Water is also very important for Plymouth’s natural environment, as 28% of the town’s area is open freshwater, it has 36 miles of coastline and 450 ponds. Plymouth’s natural water resources are a large tourist attraction and make the town a very desirable place to live.
Unfortunately, Plymouth’s water resources could be facing a threat in the future. Aging infrastructure and poor planning decisions have given rise to a water crisis in the western Plymouth pumping zone, as there is not enough redundant capacity in the water system to permit new development. The Town has developed a draft water conservation plan, which argues that water conservation could mitigate the need for new wells in Plymouth, but the town has not implemented it yet. The town also suffers from poor enforcement of water use restrictions in the summer, which are required by its Water Management Act permit. Community Land and Water Coalition supports the recommendations of the water conservation plan, and full enforcement of the water use restrictions in the WMA permit, before any new wells or booster pumps are installed in the system. Over pumping and over withdrawal from the aquifer threatens wetlands and other freshwater resources and introduces the possibility of saltwater intrusion. Saltwater intrusion occurs when there is not enough pressure of groundwater flowing out into the ocean to prevent seawater from infiltrating up into our inland aquifer. Saltwater intrusion is very costly to treat in drinking water systems and is practically irreversible. Plymouth is the fastest growing town in the state; the time for water conservation is now.
Plymouth has also experienced egregious sand mining and earth removal in the town. Plymouth is at the epicenter of the global sand mining industry. The fine silica sand that lies across the region is a globally rare commodity, which developers seek to extract when they apply for agricultural and industrial/residential subdivision permits. Community Land and Water Coalition actively fights against the unregulated and unpermitted sand mining in the town.
Plymouth is also the location of the National Day of Mourning, which is held at noon at Cole’s Hill on Thanksgiving Day each year, to remember the genocide of millions of Indigenous people, the theft of Indigenous lands and the erasure of Indigenous cultures. It is also a day to celebrate the resilience of Indigenous people.