Stormwater Utilities in Rhode Island

Timeline of Stormwater Utilities

  • 2002: The Rhode Island Stormwater Management and Utility District Act was passed, which enabled Rhode Island cities and towns to implement stormwater utilities to fund stormwater management.
  • 2006: East Providence Waterfront Commission considers creation of a stormwater utility
  • 2008: The first Rhode Island municipality to consider town-wide creation of a stormwater utility was the Town of Narragansett. After the completion of an initial feasibility study, the pursuit of a stormwater utility was postponed until a more favorable political climate arose.
  • 2011: Middletown and Westerly were offered technical assistance and a feasibility study from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM)
  • 2012: Bristol and Cranston were offered technical assistance from RIDEM; resources were available to prepare a feasibility study for Bristol only.
  • 2012: In March the Middletown Town Council voted to accept Rhode Island Bays, Rivers and Watersheds Coordination Team grant money to hire a consultant.
  • 2013: In April Middletown began work on the Stormwater Fund Study. A regional stormwater utility is also under consideration in the Upper Narragansett Bay area. Seven municipalities (Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence and Warwick) are currently participating in Phase I of a feasibility study that is evaluating whether a stormwater utility could help improve stormwater management in the region and assessing if there is enough buy in to continue the study into the implementation phase. Narragansett had also budgeted to complete a full stormwater utility feasibility study in Fiscal Year 2013, but the status of that study is unknown.