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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems

Rhode Island

State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships

Rhode Island Public Utility Commission

State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships


The DWSRF program prioritizes projects that include water system restructuring, consolidation, or management changes to water systems. Systems that do not have the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to ensure compliance can only receive funding if the resulting consolidation or reorganization will enable the system to maintain compliance with the SDWA and the state’s Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Public Drinking Water R46-13-DWQ.


Rhode Island contracted with third party technical assistance providers to offer training and continuing education units (CEUs) regarding several topics, including Preparing for Water Emergencies and Regionalism, Consolidation and Costs Sharing.


The Public Water Supplies Systems Act (PWSSA) of 1995 states that “economy and efficiency dictate the desirability to combine small public water supply systems with other public water supply systems” RI Gen L § 46-30-2 (2014). In addition, the law provides water suppliers the authority to petition an adjacent supplier for the purpose of merging or annexing, as long as they have consent of the governing board of both entities [RI Gen L § 46-30-2 (2014)]. The Public Utility Commission has the authority to approve user charges, fees, or rate changes as a result of the merger. An annexation fee of any amount between 10 percent and 100 percent of the pre-annexation rate can be imposed for up to 30 years, or until the loan that funded the merger is paid off [RI Gen L § 46-30-4 (2013)].

Helpful Links to State Resources