Providence Water, although a department of the City of Providence, is regulated by state and federal agencies in addition to city policies and procedures. The quality of our treated drinking water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Our revenue and rate structure is regulated by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

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The Cost of a Glass of Water

Closeup of a penny

Its critics say the US penny has become obsolete, and there has been much discussion about taking it entirely out of circulation. The reason for this thinking is simple-there's not much left of any value that you can buy for one cent. Yet, at today's rate, Providence Water customers still receive an astounding value - about 48 eight-ounce glasses of high quality drinking water, delivered right to their faucets, for just one penny!

One reason for the low price of Providence Water is our low costs associated with the treatment of raw water that collects in the Scituate Reservoir system. At Providence Water, we do evething in our power to protect the reservoir system that collects the water we treat and deliver to our customers. The cleaner the raw water, the lower it costs to treat the water for delivery.

Another reason for our low-prices charged to our customers is our businesslike approach to the management of the water system. Since 1990,Providence Water has developed and implemented policies and procedures designed to improve efficiency, minimize costs, and help keep rate increases as low as possible to our ratepayers.

In 1990, proactive measures to ensure continuous reinvestment in the system were taken. At that time, Providence Water successfully secured funding from the Public Utilities Commission for capital improvements. In 1993, under the Chief Engineer's leadership, Providence Water championed state legislation which guaranteed the allocation of portions of the water sales revenue to a Comprehensive Clean Water Infrastructure Replacement Act to ensure that planned reinvestment would have funds available to pay for the work. In February, 1996, Providence Water submitted a plan under this Act which addressed its new responsibilites. Funding for the plan comes primarily from revenues annually set aside and restricted in combination with some bond revenues.

For the cost of... You could buy...
a movie ticket 27,500 Gallons
a gallon of milk 1,040 Gallons
a candy bar 225 Gallons
a large coffee 675 Gallons
a movie on DVD 5,200 Gallons
a large pizza 4,150 Gallons

Making improvements to our aging water system is important. Just as critical has been the need to prevent loss of water service to our customers during emergencies or transmission system failures. As far back as 1994, Providence Water led efforts to secure a supplemental water supply of up to 50 million gallons a day over the next ten (10) to fifteen (15) years.

It is important that we take the steps necessary to leapfrog what will no doubt be tighter drinking water regulations and build for the future like our forefathers did in 1925. With regard to infrastructure replacement and the development of new sources of water, we will not be pennywise and pound foolish. The continued collecton, treatment and delivery of a healthy and reliable water supply to our customers is our most important priority as we head into the 21st century.