By Kathryn Gallerani
CARVER – A list of potential resiliency measures that might be a good fit for Carver has been identified and included in an integrated climate resiliency management plan, but it’s up to the town to decide what would work best.
The focus is on strategies to reduce the impact of drought on Carver’s firefighting and cranberry growing water sources based on water resource assessments conducted for the town through the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program.
Water resources engineers Diane Mas and Phil Moreschi of consultants Fuss and O’Neill have been working with the town and other stakeholders to provide information and guidance through the MVP grant process with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
Moreschi said a mapping of the drought record for Carver based on a simulation by the United States Geological Survey in 2009 looking at pumping rates gave them a real sense of the vulnerability of different parts of Carver to drought.
“That tool is very valuable for us to be able to identify the specific nature of the mediation measures that we want to undertake, and the primary means of making these water sources resilient is to essentially dig them deeper,” he said.
During a severe drought, there isn’t much surface water flow, and there is a reliance on groundwater, but the deeper the water source, the greater chance of intercepting water at that lower groundwater level. He said tapping into the groundwater aquifer under Carver will be key.
Fifteen priority firefighting water supplies geographically distributed from North Carver to South Carver have been identified.
A conceptual plan calls for the grading of areas adjacent to the water sources for firefighting so that two fire trucks can easily access the priority water supplies. As the groundwater level drops, they will need to remove more and more soil.
Moreschi proposes a phased approach with funding from MVP action grants, which he anticipates will be available this fall, including design permitting this fall and construction next year. Part of the grant funding is in-kind services or monetary contributions from the town with the rest grant funding.
Where possible, he suggested looking into dual benefits, including ecological enhancements such as ecological plantings to counteract invasive species. He said there are also other grant programs, but the MVP program is the best, most effective option.
When it comes to cranberry growers, Moreschi said they may, in order to reduce the overall demand for water, consider ensuring sufficient water storage by drilling a well or digging another pond. He said water recycling and auto start irrigation are also possibilities.
While not available at this time, he expects the use of soil monitors to measure the moisture in the soil to help determine the need for irrigation. The sharing of sources with other farmers in close proximity whether digging a ditch or providing a piping system was another suggestion.
He acknowledged that some of the suggestions are obvious, and some have been addressed but said having a plan is important when seeking to secure funding.
“We have to show a methodology that they’ve gone through as individual growers so that hopefully down the road if they’re looking for grant funding they can show that they went through this methodology to determine the best approach for their farm,” he said.
He said bog conversion is another option, but it’s acknowledged that it’s an option that’s very expensive and causes disruption to growing operations.
Look out for more about the integrated plan on the Planning Board page on the town’s website www.carverma.gov under climate resiliency.
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