The Pawtucket Water Supply Board is a semi-autonomous agency of the City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Pawtucket Water Supply Board operates a water system that serves the Cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls and the Valley Falls section of Cumberland. The Town of Cumberland purchases wholesale water from the Pawtucket Water Supply Board.
The PWSB has a Board of Directors and is a semi-autonomous extension of the City of Pawtucket. It is an enterprise fund agency; no subsidization exists between the City and the PWSB. Rates are determined by the PWSB Board and are subject to the approval of the RI Public Utilities Commission (PUC) after a thorough examination and review by the Division of the PUC and the State Attorney General’s office which acts as an advocate for the rate payer. The PUC has approved rates for pay-as-you-go funds for capital projects, and for debt service for the financing of the major capital projects.
Financing for the water treatment facilities and the water main projects is obtained through the State of Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency. The agency provides subsidized funding through the federal State Revolving Fund Loan Program (SRF) for drinking water. The SRF is administered through the State Department of Health.
Our water supply comes directly from the Abbott run aquifer, a combination of four surface reservoirs and eight groundwater wells. This raw water is pumped into the water treatment plant where it undergoes a variety of treatment techniques (including physical and chemical processes) to remove contaminants.
To learn more about source water and the water treatment process check out the Source Water page.
After treatment, water leaves the pump stations through a network of 12, 16, 20, 24 and 36 inch diameter water transmission mains to all parts of the PWSB system, much like the spokes on a wheel. Smaller distribution mains distribute the water to all areas of the PWSB system. In all, there are approximately 267 miles of transmission and distribution water mains in the PWSB system.
Approximately 98% of the System has been either Replaced or Cleaned and Lined – To Be Completed by 2022.
The PWSB system has approximately 1900 fire hydrants and 6,000 line valves. These are replaced as needed with the main renovation program, or on an emergency basis if needed.
The distribution storage facility of the PWSB is comprised of two storage tanks. The two tanks on the west side of the system are connected to the transmission and distribution grid through two 24 inch diameter water lines. The original storage structure at this location was constructed in the 1870s as an open air 22 million gallon reservoir and was replaced with a 10 million gallon tank in 1994.
The PWSB has a staff of 53 employees that administers, operates, and maintains the water system. The PWSB owns and operates its own fleet of vehicles.