Last summer, when Cumberland needed to borrow some of Woonsocket's water supply, Woonsocket Water Division workers had to rig up a connection between two fire hydrants on Park East Drive.
Two years before that, when a water main broke on Bound Road near Diamond Hill Road, it spilled into a stream on a golf course in the middle of winter. Usually, a water main break is identified immediately because they're along roads that collpase when the spilled water washes it away, said DPW Director Sheila McGauvran. This time, because it went right into a stream, "Nobody noticed." At least not until alarms started alerting officials that the water pressure was gone.
A grant the city just won from the Water Resources Board will help the city address both issues, McGauvran said, paying for $2 million of a $4 million Woonsocket-Cumberland Water Supply Interconnection Project that will establish an official, metered connection between Cumberland and Woonsocket for water sharing and also provide a backup for water pressure to the water tower on Bound Road. With the connection in place, Woonsocket and Cumberland can monitor which municipality gives how much water to the other and charge them accordingly.
The balance of the project's $2 million will be paid for by the Woonsocket Water Division and the Cumberland Water Division, out of their respective water rate funds. Cumberland Water will pay for 19.74 percent of the $2 million, McGauvran said.
McGauvran said the city was able to secure one of a few remaining Water Resources Board grants from the agency to fund the project. The work should go out to bid in the fall, and be completed by early spring.