§ 46-15-1. Legislative declaration.
The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:
(1) The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has been endowed with many and abundant sources of water supplies located advantageously, for the most part, throughout the state. The proper development, protection, conservation, and use of these water resources are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public, and to the continued growth and economic development of the state;
(2) In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that water supply management, protection, development, and use must be fully integrated into all statewide planning, and rivers and watershed planning and management processes, and that the allocation of the state's water resources to all users, purposes, and functions, including water to sustain our natural river and stream systems and natural biotic communities, must be equitably decided and implemented under a process which emphasizes efficiency of use and management, minimization of waste, protection of existing supplies, demand management, drought management, conservation, and all other techniques to ensure that our water resources serve the people of Rhode Island for the longest time, in the most efficient use, and in an environmentally sound manner;
(3) The character and extent of the problems of water resource development, utilization, and control, and the widespread and complex interests which they affect, demand action by the government of the state of Rhode Island in order to deal with these problems in a manner which adequately protects the general welfare of all the citizens of the state;
(4) In order to retain and encourage the expansion of our present industries, and to attract new industries, and to promote the proper growth and desirable economic growth of the entire state, and to sustain the viability of water resource-dependent natural systems, agriculture, and recreation, state government must play an active role in fostering and guiding the management of water resources;
(5) There are state and municipal departments, special districts, private firms, and other agencies in the state who have capabilities and experience in the design, construction, operation, and financing of water supply and transmission facilities, which capabilities and experience must be brought to bear on the total problem of water resources development in a coordinated manner if the proper development, conservation, apportionment, and use of the water resources of the state are to be realized; and
(6) It shall be the duty of the water resources board to regulate the proper development, protection, conservation and use of the water resources of the state.
(P.L. 1990, ch. 461, § 4; P.L. 1995, ch. 370, art. 30, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 159, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 254, § 2.)