The Kent County Water Authority and its professional staff are committed to providing our valued customers with the finest, most cost effective and reliable drinking water. We continually strive to adopt new and better methods for delivering the best quality drinking water to you. As new challenges to drinking water emerge, we remain vigilant in meeting these demands in our service to our customers.
The Kent County Water Authority currently supplies and distributes water services on a retail basis to residential, commercial, industrial and other consumers within reach of its existing infrastructure within Kent County and a portion of Cranston, Scituate and a small area of North Kingstown. The Authority is legislatively empowered to provide public water service within Kent County. Kent County boundaries encompass approximately 172 square miles of land mass. It lies approximately five miles south of Providence and includes the towns of Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich, West Warwick and the City of Warwick. The water users in Kent County not serviced by the Authority are served by privately owned wells or the Warwick Water Department for the City of Warwick.
The Authority is governed by a seven member Board which equitably represent the interest of the existing community customer base in establishes operating policy. By law, two members are appointed by each of the town/city councils in Warwick, West Warwick and Coventry; one member by the East Greenwich Town Council. Each member serves for a term of 7 years. Vacancies occurring during a term are filled for the unexpired term. The chairperson of the Board is elected by a majority vote of the Board members.
The present members of the Board and sources of appointment are set forth below:
The secretary and treasurer are appointed by the Board, but need not be members. Three members of the Board constitute a quorum and a majority vote is necessary for any action taken by the Authority.
Kent County Water Authority has 37 employees that facilitate overall system operation and customer service to over 87,000 inhabitants through 26,700 service connections and 457 miles of water main. Residential customers make up approximately 94% of the Authority’s accounts which represents approximately 75% of the total water sold. Industrial and commercial accounts represent approximately 5% of the total accounts and 20% of the water sold, other accounts, primarily public agencies, make up the remainder of the customer base and overall water sales. These percentages have remained relatively consistent during the previous five years.
The sources of supply come from both groundwater wells owned by the Authority and treated water purchased wholesale from the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB), a municipal public water supplier also regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. Besides these water sources, the System is comprised of a distribution and transmission pipe system, pumping stations, storage facilities and fire hydrants. The System contains approximately 457 miles of distribution and transmission mains, four active storage tanks of the standpipe or elevated design, two main transmission pumping facilities, four pressure booster (or pumping) stations, four wells, one 2.4 million gallon a day groundwater treatment plant, 2,395 public fire hydrants and 633 private fire hydrants.
The existing KCWA water distribution system is divided into eight (8) distinct pressure zones. The ability to provide domestic service is controlled by a limiting elevation associated with each zone that equates to a minimum of 35 psi at the service connection. Each zone operates at a set hydraulic pressure grade line. Five of the zones service the majority of the KCWA service territory. The pressure zones are as follows:
By State law the, Authority is entitled to receive from certain sources maintained by the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) at a maximum of 150 gallons of water per day per inhabitant of Kent County for domestic, fire and other ordinary municipal water supply purposes. Approximately 80 percent of all water supplied to the System is obtained through wholesale purchase from the PWSB Scituate Reservoir. The System has three connections into this water source: Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston; Clinton Avenue transmission Pumping Station in Scituate; and Bald Hill Road transmission Pumping Station in Warwick . The Warwick Water Department System connection in turn obtains the water from the PWSB. Since the PWSB is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Authority purchases water at wholesale rates established by the PUC for that water.
The remaining 20 percent of water supplied to the System is produced from five gravel-packed wells owned by the Authority and located in three well fields. One of the wells is located in Warwick and derives its water from the Hunt River Aquifer and four are located in Coventry and derive water from the Mishnock Aquifer. Normally, the Authority’s wells are operated on a continuous basis through the Authority’s treatment plant. The plant is capable of pumping at variable capacity to the 334 foot, reduced 500 foot and 500 foot north gradients.
In addition, the Systems 4 active water storage tanks range in capacity from 1.5 million to 3 million gallons. These 4 water storage tanks are designed to provide sufficient storage under maximum-day-flow-plus-fire basis to service the Authority’s customers should this condition occur.
All water produced from the System’s own wells is treated to comply with applicable federal and state water quality requirements. Water derived from the System’s Mishnock well field is treated through a treatment plant that provides aeration, iron and manganese removal, 4 log disinfection and pH adjustment. The East Greenwich well is treated with poly-phosphate for mineral sequestration, potassium hydroxide for pH adjustment and chlorine is added for disinfection. The Spring Lake well is currently offline in anticipation of well field redevelopment and implementation of new treatment technology. All wholesale purchases are treated water from the PWSB and therefore require no additional treatment by the Authority.
The KCWA transmission and distribution system consists of approximately 457 miles of piping. Pipe sizes range in diameter from 2-inches to 30-inches. Generally, the pipelines were installed between the 1880’s to the present. A large portion of the pipes installed between 1880 and 1949 are unlined cast iron (CI). Asbestos cement (AC) or transite pipes were predominately installed between the late 1930’s and 1970’s. Cement lined cast iron pipes were installed in 1960’s and the 1970’s. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes were generally installed from the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s. Lastly, ductile iron (DI) pipe was installed few locations in the 70s and 80s but it wasn’t until the late 90s where KCWA standardized on this material for all transmission and distribution water mains. Ductile iron pipe was chosen as the standard for all new and replacement main installation because of its extensive durability and longevity with respect to the geological and environmental concerns in the New England area. There is only one small section of large diameter High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) in the system sleeved inside the insulated pipe crossing on South County Trail over Route 4. The distribution system is considered a gravity system with water flowing from system tanks to customers. The System’s tanks are replenished by transmission pumping. There is relatively minimal impact on water service during short period power outages because storage capacity in the tanks continues to provide the gravity supply to the distribution system. All public hydrants within the distribution system are owned by the Authority and are rented for emergency use by each individual fire department and/or districts within the System.
The average daily demand for water within the System is at present approximately 5.2 million gallons per day. During the summer months, maximum daily demands of approximately 9.8 million gallons per day are realized. In a previous dry period demands of 20 million gallons per day were experienced. Recent law and regulatory oversight by the Rhode Island Water Resources Board have capped the daily per capita water demand at 65 gallons per person per day. By regulation KCWA must implement demand reduction strategies in anticipation of exceeding this cap. The greatest opportunity for demands to exceed this legislative cap is during the spring and summer months when outside water use is at its peak. Outside water use moratorium will be employed as necessary to control demand below the prescribed legislative cap.