Commission: Effort to buy Providence water supply is on hold

August 2, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Narragansett Bay Commission says its effort to acquire the Providence water system is on hold.

Spokeswoman Jamie Samons said Thursday the commission is still interested but legislation to permit a sale would need to pass next year when state lawmakers reconvene.

Providence’s water supply, which mostly comes from the Scituate Reservoir, serves about 60 percent of Rhode Island residents.

The city says it’s exploring all of its options for a potential transaction and will submit legislation again.

Two bills stalled in the recent legislative session. One bill would’ve allowed the commission, a wastewater treatment authority, to acquire the water system. Another would’ve allowed the transfer to happen without scrutiny from state regulators.

The city wants to use sale proceeds to help its struggling pension system. Officials in other municipalities served by the water supply criticized the plan.

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