Date of Award

1990

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Marcia Marker Feld

Abstract

Water is an indispensable resource. Modern urban areas have come to rely on extensive water supply networks which collect, store, treat, and distribute massive amounts of water from remote locations. Most systems in the northeastern United States were constructed several decades ago and still function very well. End users of such systems have become accustomed to an abundant supply of cheap, high quality water.

Rapid growth in population and economic development in recent years is placing a strain on existing water supply systems. At the same time, watershed and wellhead areas which are sources of supply are being threatened by increasing contamination sources resulting from intensified and sometimes inappropriate land use. Where the traditional solution to increasing demand is to create additional water supply sources, the fiscal and environmental impacts of such action are rapidly escalating. There is increasing interest a more comprehensive approach to the management of water, where a premium is placed on protecting surface and groundwater supplies, conservation, and the integration of the efforts of government and the water industry.

The purpose of this research project is to describe and evaluate the water resources management institutional structure in the state of Rhode Island. Using selected criteria, a comparison is made with alternative institutional approaches in Massachusetts, California and elsewhere. Based on this analysis, a recommendation for a new water resources and waste water management authority in Rhode Island is presented.

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