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The Correct Balance: New Connecticut Streamflow Regulations Provide for Needs of People and Nature

New rules offer basic, flexible protection to our rivers and streams—natural systems that are crucial to our quality of life.

NEW HAVEN, CT | November 29, 2011

The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut today issued the following statements after regulations to govern the amount of water released from large reservoirs to ensure the health of our state’s streams cleared the final hurdle of being approved by the General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee.

Frogard Ryan, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut:

“These regulations will put Connecticut in the forefront nationally of responsible water management. They will improve the health of our rivers and streams while maintaining the reliability of our water supplies to meet people’s needs. The committee’s action is a very significant step toward ensuring that we have enough water for our communities, our environment and our economy both today and well into the future. This hallmark action, following years of hard work, charts a robust path for Connecticut’s water future. We applaud the diverse stakeholders who made this possible.”

David Sutherland, director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut:

“This new framework improves how we manage our waters to meet the needs of people and nature. The agreement that was reached between water suppliers, businesses, state agencies and environmental groups ensures we can meet all of our water needs now and long into the future. The system we agreed to allows more water for nature when nature needs it and ensures we have water for people when we need it. We’re profoundly grateful to everyone who came to the table, and stayed at the table, and worked together to develop creative solutions to address how we should meet our various water needs and find ways to effectively balance them.”


These regulations will:

  • Ensure that people’s water needs come first, especially during droughts.
  • Recognize that all rivers are not the same and should have different management objectives based on science, local conditions, and previous impacts.
  • Not take a one-size-fits-all approach. Most water supply systems will only need to meet simple requirements to ensure streams do not dry up from overuse. Larger supplies that have a greater ability to affect rivers and streams need to do more.
  • Improve the transparency and predictability of the regulatory system.
  • Provide flexibility and ample time for implementation, allowing 10 – 15 years for communities and water companies to implement compliance strategies. This will help to minimize impacts on water rates.
  • Do not apply to the use of water for emergencies and management of water for flood control to ensure we continue to put public safety first
  • Provide for ongoing and broad public participation so that public and local governments will have a meaningful role in determining the future of our water resources.
  • Honor existing permits and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection-approved management arrangements.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

James Miller
Media Relations Manager

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