About Us Contact Us Rates and Charges Reports Meetings and Minutes News Releases
Rules and Regulations Flushing Schedule Water Use Restrictions FAQs Links Home
WEB Site Design © DS Systems Co.
DISTRICT GOVERNMENT AND SERVICE AREA
Q. Is the District part of the Town of Portsmouth Government?
A. No. The Portsmouth Water and Fire District is a quasi-municipal, governmental agency created in 1952 by act of the Rhode Island General Assembly. The District was created to obtain and maintain for the District a supply of water for the extinguishing of fire and for distribution to the inhabitants of the District for domestic use and for other purposes.
Q. Who governs the District?
A. The District is governed by a seven-member Administrative Board, which is elected by the registered voters within the District. The District holds an annual election of officers on the second Wednesday in June. The Administrative Board meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM at the District's main office.
Q. What area does the District service?
A. The District services all of Portsmouth that is located on Aquidneck Island, exclusive of the Redwood Farms, Bay View, Raytheon and Melville areas.
BILLS AND RATES
Q. Why do I get two different bills from the Portsmouth Water and Fire District?
A. The blue and white bill is a Water Service Bill, which is for your water usage charges. The red and white bill is for your Water District Property Taxes.
Q. When are the water and tax bills mailed?
A. The Water Service Bill is mailed in mid May and is due on July 1.
The Water District Property Taxes bill is mailed in mid October and is due on December 1.
Q. What are the District's water rates?
A. The current water rates are as follows:
|GALLONS||FY-12 RATES||FY-13 RATES|
|MINIMUM IN ADVANCE*|
|OVERAGE IN ARREARS||Per 1,000 Gallons||Per 1,000 Gallons|
|21,000 to 60,000 gallons:||$4.97||$4.97|
|61,000 to 100,000 gallons:||$5.93||$5.93|
|Over 100,000 gallons:||$6 60||$6.60|
|RIDWP Surcharge on ALL gallons:||$0.292||$0.292|
Minimum In Advance shown above is for the typical residential, yearly customer with a 5/8" water meter.
Q. How can Senior Citizens apply for an exemption from the Rhode Island Drinking Water Protection(RIDWP) Surcharge?
A. Exemptions from the RIDWP Surcharge are permitted for owner-occupied households where the owner of record of the dwelling is 65 years of age or older. Application for exemption may be made at the Portsmouth Water and Fire District’s main office.
Q. What is the District's tax rate?
A. The current District tax rate is $0.18 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Your assessed property value, as determined by the Town of Portsmouth Tax Assessor, is used to calculate your Water District Tax.
Q. Why is my property taxed by the Portsmouth Water and Fire District?
A. Like most other water and fire districts in Rhode Island, the Portsmouth Water and Fire District has been granted taxing authority by the RI General Assembly to be used as necessary to create, operate and maintain a water supply system to supply water for domestic use and fire protection within the District.
While the property taxes provide only sixteen (16%) percent of the District's total annual revenue, the tax is an important component of the District's fiscal management plan and equitable rate making strategy. The rationale for maintaining a District property tax is:
Bonding - Tax revenue allows the District to obtain capital funding through general obligation bonds. These bonds can provide a lower interest rate and can have lower bonding costs than revenue bonds, which are supported by variable water sales and would otherwise be required without tax revenue. General obligation bonds supported by taxes can usually be obtained in a quicker time frame than revenue bonds, which require a detailed, pro forma financial analysis due to the variable nature of water sales revenue. The speed with which capital financing can be obtained is particularly important during a catastrophic emergency when public health and safety is paramount.
Revenue Stability - Water sales revenue is significantly influenced by weather, whereas predictable tax revenue provides an element of stability to the District's total annual revenue stream. The guaranteed tax revenue helps dampen the impacts of the variable nature of water sales, and results in more accurate budgeting and water rate stability from year to year.
Rate Fairness - All properties within the District benefit from the public water system, whether or not they are water customers. The extensive system of pumps, tanks, pipes and fire hydrants provide water for fire protection throughout the District to all properties. In addition, undeveloped property values are positively impacted by the presence of the water system throughout the District and the potential to connect existing and future subdivided property to the existing system. Without the property tax, which is assessed to all properties within the District whether or not the properties receive water service, our water ratepayers would be unfairly subsidizing the benefits received by the non-water using property owners.
Q. Can I pay my bills at the Portsmouth Town Hall?
A. No. The District is not part of Portsmouth town government and the town cannot accept payments for the District.
Q. How can I pay my bills?
A. The Water Service bill and the Water District Property Taxes bill can be paid in the following manner:
Portsmouth Water and Fire District
P. O. Box 99
Portsmouth, Rhode Island 02871
Portsmouth Water and Fire District
1944 East Main Road
Portsmouth Rhode Island
Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
|After Hours:||A payment slot is available 24/7 on the outside of the front door at 1944 East Main Road.|
Q. Can I pay by my bills by credit card?
A. Although credit cards are not accepted at the District office, they can be used to pay District water and tax bills through the following third party vendor that has a business relationship with the District:
Official Payments Corporation
|Code:||The District's Jurisdiction code is 1749|
Q. Can the water account be listed in the name of the tenant?
A. No, all water service accounts must be listed in the name of the property owner.
Q. Can Portsmouth Water read the water meter for a property sale or end of lease?
A. Yes, however, there is a $65.00 charge for this service. Anyone who has access to the property can easily read the meter and call the reading in to the District office. Office personnel will be happy to provide dollar figures for closings on a property sale and for landlords and tenants at no charge if the water meter reading is provided.
Q. What is the average residential water consumption?
A. The water use of a household depends on the number of family members residing in the house, the ages of the family members, how water is used for lawn and garden irrigation, etc, so it is difficult to come up with an average that is relevant to each customer. However, we can tell you that the average annual consumption for residential customers for the entire water system is approximately 60,000 gallons. Nevertheless, it is not unusual to see residential customers with an annual water use as low as 20,000 gallons or as high as 200,000 gallons, depending on the circumstances of the household.
WATER SOURCE AND QUALITY
Q. Where does my water come from?
A. The water supplied by the District is purchased on a wholesale basis from the City of Newport Water Department. The Newport Water Department treats the water at their Lawton Valley Water Treatment Plant located on West Main Road in Portsmouth. The raw water comes from the Lawton Valley Reservoir, St. Mary's Pond and Sisson Pond in Portsmouth, Nonquit Pond in Tiverton and Watson Pond in Little Compton.
Q. Is there fluoride in the water supplied by Portsmouth Water?
A. Yes. The water has 1.0 mg/l (or, 1.0 ppm) of fluoride.
Q. What is the hardness of the water?
A. The water hardness, which is measured as calcium carbonate, is as follows:
|In Milligrams per Liter:||
68 to 84
|In Grains per Gallon:||
4.0 to 4.9
Q. What causes my water to get discolored on occasion and what should I do about it?
A. Discolored water can result from a number of problems in the water treatment process and the water distribution system.
Yellowish water usually indicates the presence of manganese, a metal naturally present in water. At times, the manganese cannot be completely removed by the treatment process and the manganese oxidizes in the water distribution system causing a yellowish tint in the water.
Brown water normally indicates a disturbance of sediment in the water distribution system caused by a water main break or a fire hydrant being opened. The District annually flushes the water system at night to remove sediment and to prevent discolored water during normal operations.
If your water is discolored, you should contact the District immediately to report the problem. This will allow the District to investigate the problem, if it has not already done so, and advise you of any action you should take.
Q. What should I do if my laundry is soiled by the discolored water?
A. If your clothes become discolored by our water, please contact the District immediately so that we can investigate the problem. The District can provide you with a special laundry detergent that is made to remove discoloration caused by water quality problems.
Q. What causes low water pressure and what can I do about it?
A. Water pressure is generally a function of the elevation of the property. Properties at higher elevations will have lower pressure than properties at lower elevations. Low pressure problems can develop from many different circumstances:
The pressure reducing valve or water meter can become clogged with sediment.
The water serviceline could become clogged by corrosion.
There could be a leak in the water serviceline. In addition to causing low pressure, the leak could damage your property.
If your water flow or pressure appears to be unsatisfactory, or if it appears to be lower than normal for your property, you should contact the District so that we can have a Water Distribution System Operator inspect the property and evaluate the potential problem.
Q. Am I required to have a pressure reducing valve?
A. It depends on the location and elevation of the building being served. Please refer to the General Requirements for Obtaining Water Service on this web site for more specific information.