BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts officials have unveiled a new framework for the way communities draw water from streams and rivers to prevent the waterways from running dry.
The aim of the regulations is to better protect water resources while balancing the needs of wildlife and humans.
Some fear that the draft regulations announced Thursday may lead to higher water rates.
The guidelines are intended to encourage communities to make investments in water conservation by fixing leaky pipes and returning water to the ground that's taken out for use by residents.
The framework was developed after four pilot projects were set up across the state to test the on-the-ground impacts.
The final regulations are expected to be in place by the end of next year and will be phased in starting in 2014.