Our Water


Cities need more water than they can find within their own borders. In 1871, Providence’s first municipal water system brought unfiltered water from the Pawtuxet River in Cranston to the city.  Later the city added sand filtering and elevated storage reservoirs at the current sites of Hope High School on the East Side and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital just over the North Providence line as well as downtown. But demand outstripped supply and in 1925, the city created the Scituate Reservoir by damming the Pawtuxet. The massive reservoir continues to serve much of Rhode Island to this day.

39.7 billion     Capacity of the Scituate Reservoir in gallons. This is equal to 60,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It would take your family six and a half years to use the amount of water in one of those pools. (If you have an average family.)

5                      Number of contributing Reservoirs that flow into the Scituate Reservoir: The Barden, the Moswansicut, the Ponaganset, the Regulating, and the Westconnaug Reservoirs

5,000              acres of water owned by Providence Water.

13,000             acres of land owned by Providence Water. This forested land protects our drinking water from pollution.

90’                   Maximum depth of the Scituate Reservoir. The average depth is 32’.

1,000               Number of plant and animal species identified on PW land.

451.6               Miles of water mains within the City of Providence.

4’                     Average depth of water mains.

102”                Largest water main diameter. (8 and a half feet)

59º                 Highest temperature of Scituate Reservoir water in summer (at test depths). In winter the water temperature can drop to 34º.

80,000             Approximate number of direct PW retail service connections in five communities: Providence, North Providence, Cranston, Johnston and East Smithfield.

36,226             Approximate number of service connections in the City of Providence.

$3.83               Retail price of water, per hundred cubic feet (HCF), for residential customers. PW also has an Industrial rate of $3.65 and a Commercial rate of $4.014.

$0.005             Residential retail price of one gallon of Providence tap water. One hundred cubic feet contains 748 gallons of water.

$2.29               Retail price for 1 gallon of Poland Spring water at Shaw’s Market.

7                     Number of “wholesalers” supplied in addition to households served directly by PW: Greenville Water, the City of East Providence, Town of Smithfield, Lincoln Water, Kent County Water, Bristol Water, and the City of Warwick.

144 million     Maximum treatment capacity in gallons of the PW water treatment plant, the largest such plant in New England.

100                  Average number of gallons used by a single resident per day.

70%                Proportion of water delivery powered by gravity. Pumps provide the rest.

3,200’              Length of the Scituate Reservoir Dam along Rt. 12. The dam is 100’ high.

$518 million   Net value of PW property, plant and equipment.

$94.5 million  Total operating revenue in 2023.

$30.5 million  Net revenue after operating expenses in 2023.


Source:  The amazing Providence Water FAQ page. Providence Water sets a high bar for transparency and institutional pride by sharing so much detailed information about their operations online. Other public bodies should follow their example. Thank you, PW!