The Madbury Water District existed here from 1953 through Feb. 4, 2003, when dissolution was voted. Its original mandate under NHRSA 52:1 was "for the purpose of supplying water for
domestic and fire protection purposes", which was amended in 1981, by adding "including the protection of water resources."
The MWD was a result of the development of the Pease Air Force Base,
authorized by Congress in 1951. In 1952, the Madbury Town Meeting voted “against having the air base at Newington.” The entire seacoast reacted when it became known that the largest aquifer in the area was
to be covered with asphalt to accommodate a runway for the air base.
The government needed to find a like water supply for Portsmouth, most of whose water came from the springs over that aquifer. Wells were sunk in
the Johnson Creek area of Madbury, off Freshet Road and in the gravel areas off Pudding Hill Road, but the flow was insufficient to replace Portsmouth’s needs. In the 1960s, the Bellamy Reservoir was created.
The municipalities in the region formed a Seacoast Water Commission, authorized by legislative act, and tried in vain through 1964 to form a metropolitan water district which would be under state control.
Madbury, John Elliott who had the largest rose greenhouses east of the Mississippi, engineered the formation of the MWD, which he served as chairman for many years; during the later years, the MWD was nearly forgotten.
In 1967, Richard Hebbard obtained permission from the PUC to use Bellamy water for the Bunker Lane Mobile Home Park. Portsmouth’s 24-inch water line runs from the treatment plant on Freshet Road, down Jenkins
Road to the Emery Farm, across Route 4 at Wagon Hill Farm, under Little Bay to Newington, and hence to Portsmouth.
The MWD came alive and has been acting as a steward of our water resources. Water-testing has been
done; studies were made relative to potential aquifers; cooperation with the Planning Board has been on-going.
However, following a water budget developed for the Oyster River and Bellamy River watersheds, it became
obvious that the regional approach sought fifty years ago would be needed to protect and to share in a reasonable way our water resources. Hence the move to dissolution in order that the full authority of the town might be
heard in the coming regional discussions of both surface and ground water.