Water Quality in the State of Rhode Island

Rhode Island is located in New England and is the smallest U.S. state by area and the second-most densely populated state in the nation. Rhode Island got the nickname "The Ocean State", because of the large bays and inlets that are about 14 percent of its total area.

Rhode Island potable water supply comes mainly from reservoirs, lakes, rivers and wells. The city of Providence water supply comes mostly from the Scituate Reservoir, which is located in a rural, forested watershed basin.

Water Hardness Summary

Rhode-Island water is considered soft water. The average water hardness for the Rhode Island resident is around 46 PPM. Providence, the state capital and the most populated city, has a water hardness level of 70 PPM and the city of Warwick has 32 PPM, which according to USGS water hardness measures is considered soft water.

For more information on the water hardness in specific cities, please see the table below

CityWater Hardness Data


2909 | 2908 | 2907 | 2904 | 2906 | 2905 | 2903 | 2912

70 PPM (mg/L) or 4 gpg


2886 | 2889 | 2888

32 PPM (mg/L) or 2 gpg


2920 | 2910 | 2921

38 PPM (mg/L) or 2 gpg
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PPM = Parts Per Million

mg/L = Milligrams Per Liter

gpg = Grains Per Gallon

Tourism and Hard Water

Rhode Island is known to be one of the top tourist destinations in the country. The “Ocean State” has 400 miles of shoreline and several historical and cultural attractions. In 2018, 25.4 million visitors visited Rhode Island, including 8.0 million overnight visitors which means the hotel industry is in constant demand. Even though Rhode Island has an average water hardness of 46 PPM, which is considered to be soft water, hotel management can still find that the costs of maintenance to their pools, ice machines and HVAC equipment can be quite cumbersome. Also, the lifespan of the hotel equipment can be cut in half from the impact of scale buildup brought on by water hardness.


Solutions to your Water Quality Problems

Fixing your water quality issues in the state of Rhode Island will depend on your specific water source. It is best to test your potable water supply in order to get a better understanding of your water quality. Testing is relatively cheap. The test results will allow you to understand if your potable water has issues that need to be addressed. Common solutions to water contamination problems may include a water filtration system, a reverse osmosis system or other whole home water treatment solutions.

A problem that some Rhode Island residents or companies will have to deal with is hard water. One old-fashioned, inefficient, expensive and unhealthy method to treat hard water is with a salt-based water softener. Most people don’t realize that if you’re using a water softener you are basically removing calcium and magnesium from your drinking water and adding salt to your diet. In addition, many states are banning the use of salt-based water softeners

Alternative water treatment solutions such as “water conditioners” have been gaining popularity in recent years because they are cheap to operate and the best eco-friendly solution for hard water. Hydropath technology, which powers the HydroFLOW water conditioners is by far the most efficient and cost-effective eco-friendly solution to deal with hard water problems. To learn more about how HydroFLOW solves the problems created by hard water, please check out our technology page. You might want to read this blog that explains the difference between water conditioners and water softeners: Water Conditioner vs. Water Softener Blog.